Updated Oct. 5, 2021
New records: Ten Years of Gold - Kenny Rogers; "Dust in the Wind" - Kansas; Infinity - Journey; Double Live Gonzo! - Ted Nugent
On the 5th, the film crew for The Kids Are Alright travel to Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire for two days shooting at John Entwistle's manor house. The shooting turns out to be literal as John blasts some gold record awards (supposedly for Roger's solo albums although John later told Alan McKendree they were unclaimed Connie Francis album awards) with a double-barreled shotgun and a machine gun. Much more material is put in the camera over the two days, but little makes it into the finished film.
On the 7th, Keith Moon is reported to be a member of the cast of Graham Chapman's film The Odd Job. Keith has flown out to Barbados to entertain Chapman and his fellow members of Monty Python's Flying Circus as they write the script for their new movie Life of Brian. Keith is written into the script as a "fire-and-brimstone preacher." Commitments to the recording of the Who Are You album will keep him from either movie.
Roger, however, does make it to the movies, taking a small role in his first fiction film not directed by Ken Russell, The Legacy, which begins shooting on the 16th.
On the 21st, Billboard magazine puts the budget for The Kids Are Alright movie at $4 million.
New records: Van Halen - Van Halen; Even Now - Barry Manilow; "Night Fever" - The Bee Gees; 20 Golden Greats - Buddy Holly & The Crickets
Trouser Press prints part one of a lengthy interview with Pete in which he says he never wants to tour again. He also says he wants to show that The Who can grow old gracefully.
Pete expresses his displeasure over a violent argument between his parents by putting his hand through a glass window. The injury further delays recording on Who Are You.
On the 16th, Keith Moon and his girlfriend Anette attend the London premiere of ABBA: The Movie.
A solo single by Roger, "Say It Ain't So Joe" backed with "The Prisoner" is scheduled for release in the U.K. on the 17th but is cancelled. It is released in the rest of Europe backed with "Parade" or "One of the Boys".
New records: You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish - REO Speedwagon; London Town - Wings; ...And Then There Were Three... - Genesis; You Light Up My Life - Johnny Mathis
On the 6th, Texan John "Rabbit" Bundrick auditions at Shepperton Studios to play keyboards during live appearances for The Who's new, more complex songs. He had previously been brought in to play keyboards during the 1977 Pete Townshend / Ronnie Lane sessions and had hit it off with Pete. On the evening of his Who audition, Keith Moon takes him out for a celebration and Rabbit drunkenly falls out of a taxi, breaking his wrist. The accident delays his live debut with The Who until after Keith's demise.
Around this week Keith Moon was to have started work playing the lead in Monty Python-er Graham Chapman's comedy The Odd Job. Keith's continuing work on Who Are You plus his excessive drinking keeps him out of the movie. Chapman takes his place.
Cyanide releases a cover of "I'm A Boy" as a single in Britain.
On the 14th, The Who return to the recording of the Who Are You album. Before the 16th, Pete's "Guitar And Pen" is recorded at Ramport Studios, London and RAK Studios and John's "Trick Of The Light" is recorded this day and the next at RAK. Also around this time John's "905" is recorded.
After a day's work at RAK Studios, Pete, Keith, John and Jon Astley go across the road to a restaurant. Frustrated by Keith's deteriorating drumming and his incapacitating Rabbit, Pete suddenly turns to Keith and says, "Get your shit together. Otherwise you're out." Keith is stunned but agrees to change his ways.
Pete brings in an Alcoholics Anonymous advisor to see Keith. He says Keith isn't an alcoholic, but Pete is. Shortly after this Graham Chapman takes Keith to a psychiatrist who says that Keith doesn't really want to change and gives him six months to two years to live.
The 18th sees Pete's solo track "Keep Me Turning" backed with Ronnie Lane's "Nowhere To Run," pulled from their album Rough Mix, released in the U.S. as a single. It fails to chart.
Also on the 18th, John provides a survey of budget-priced bass guitars in New Musical Express. That evening, Pete makes his first appearance on London Weekend Television's The South Bank Show discussing his interest in country & western music with Melvyn Bragg.
On the 22nd, Keith Moon and his girlfriend Anette attend the London premiere of Saturday Night Fever. Keith makes headlines when he plants a kiss on fellow attendee Joyce McKinney, then infamous for allegedly kidnapping her Mormon boyfriend.
New records: Grease - Original Soundtrack; Stardust - Willie Nelson; FM - Original Soundtrack; Thank God It's Friday - Original Soundtrack
On the 1st, Melody Maker reports that Track Records, the spin-off from Polydor launched and run by The Who's ex-managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, has been liquidated with total debts of £70,000. Track had not had a record appear in the British charts since its last Who release, the LP Odds and Sods, in October 1974. On the 7th, Track puts out its last record, Shakin' Stevens' self-titled LP. It also fails to chart.
During the month and into the next, The Who continue recording overdubs and preparing mixes for the Who Are You LP. "Love Is Coming Down" and drumming overdubs for "Who Are You" are put to tape. Most of the rest of the work by The Who does not see the final LP. Alternate versions of "Guitar And Pen," "Choirboy," later to be re-titled "Empty Glass" when it appears on Pete's solo LP of the same name, and a band version of "Music Must Change" are recorded. The final track has to be abandoned when Keith Moon fails to maintain the 6/8-time necessary. According to Pete, Keith defends his inability by announcing that he is "the best Keith Moon-style drummer in the world." Everything but Roger's vocal is left behind and the rest of the track is created by Pete and producer Jon Astley. Additionally, Pete records another demo for the album, "No Road Romance." The demo is released, along with the alternate "Guitar And Pen" and "Choirboy," on the 1996 Who Are You CD re-issue while a full band recording of "No Road Romance" is released in Japan on the 2011 mini-album release.
Another single from Roger's solo album One Of The Boys is released in the U.S. "Leon" backed with "The Prisoner" also does not make the charts.
On the 21st, Pete is interviewed by Scott Muni at New York's WNEW-FM. Despite published remarks to the contrary, he says The Who will tour with the new material "if they're in shape to tour." Although he doesn't single out Keith specifically, he does refer to problems he caused the band during the 1976 tour.
On the 26th, a theatrical version of Tommy opens at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch, Essex.
New music releases: Stranger In Town - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band; "You're the One That I Want" - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John; Natural High - The Commodores; "Grease" - Frankie Valli
On the 4th, The Who assemble at Ramport Studios to film a promotional video for "Who Are You." The Kids Are Alright's director, Jeff Stein, is behind the camera. They intend to mime to the single edit of the song but end up laying down new vocals, guitar, drums and piano overdubs. It is Keith Moon's last time in a recording studio with all the other members of The Who.
Pete and Jon Astley spend most of the month preparing the final mix for the Who Are You LP. A different "Olympic '78 Mix" of "Guitar And Pen" is prepared and rejected. It is later released on the 1997 CD issue of the album.
Suburban Studs release their LP Slam with a punk rock cover of "My Generation."
On the 25th, Who fans and the members of the bands Generation X, The Rich Kids, The Pretenders and The Sex Pistols assemble at Shepperton Studios in London for an impromptu Who concert. Jeff Stein films performances of "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" for The Kids Are Alright movie but The Who give the audience an almost complete concert. At the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again," the performance reaches a dead stop and The Who walk off the stage. Stein, realizing this will make an awful ending to the movie, gets The Who to go back on stage and perform the song again. This time The Who put everything into the ending and the crowd is encouraged to go wild. This ending will be grafted onto the earlier take for the finished film.
After the show the audience is grouped in four equal lines, each with a member of The Who at the head. An overhead shot is taken, intended as a possible cover for the Who Are You album.
The next day, The Who return to Shepperton Studios for insert shots. Before going back on stage, they pose in the car park of Shepperton's I Stage amidst their gigantic stage equipment. This is the photograph that will provide the cover for Who Are You. Keith, his belly sticking way out over his tight trousers, hides his paunch by sitting backwards on a chair marked "Not To Be Taken Away." Afterwards, The Who go inside to shoot the lasers sequence for "Won't Get Fooled Again." The shoot takes some time and Keith keeps the crew and others entertained with a display of his usual manic drumming. It is to be his last performance on the drums before an audience.
New music releases: Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds - Jeff Wayne; Double Vision - Foreigner; Some Girls - The Rolling Stones; The Cars - The Cars
On the 4th, Keith Moon and his girlfriend Anette leave for a month-long holiday on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.
On the 15th, Pete attends a London stage version of Tommy at the Queens Theatre and returns the next night. He agrees to bring the production in the next year to the West End.
Pete premiers his new independent label Eel Pie Records with the release of "Good From The Bad" backed with "Back Street Fightin'" by The Skunks.
On the 16th, Franc Roddam signs a contract to direct the film version of Quadrophenia.
Also on the 16th, the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus vote to include Keith Moon as a cast member in their forthcoming movie Life of Brian. Keith was to play the role of a "mad prophet" but will die days before his part was to be filmed.
New music releases: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Original Soundtrack; A Taste of Honey - A Taste of Honey; Blam! - The Brothers Johnson; Nightwatch - Kenny Loggins
On the 3rd, Keith Moon and his girlfriend Anette are flying back to London from their vacation in Mauritius. On the way home, Keith gets drunk and attacks a stewardess. Taken off the plane, he is hospitalized in the Seychelles islands, returning to London the next day on Air Kenya.
After his return to London, The Who Group, Ltd. announces that Keith has a new job as their Director of Promotion and Publicity. On the 12th, Keith is interviewed at Shepperton Studios by Nicky Horne for Thames at 6 about his new role. It is Keith's last British television interview. After Keith's death, his new position becomes part of a controversy concerning whether it was created to give Keith a desk job while The Who looked for a new drummer. Roger has vehemently denied it but rumors continue to circulate.
On the 14th, The Who release their first U.K. single in two-and-a-half years, the double A-side "Who Are You" and "Had Enough." It reaches #18 in both Britain and the Netherlands.
The next day the "Who Are You" promotional video premiers on London Weekend Television's The Saturday Banana.
Keith attends a party at the Embassy Club in London where he is photographed talking to The Who's former manager Kit Lambert.
On the 30th, a version of "Who Are You" even more edited than the U.K. version and with the "F" word replaced with "hell" is released as a single in the U.S. "Had Enough" is again on the other side. It peaks at #14 in Billboard and #9 in Cash Box.
On the same day, Peter Meaden, the Mod impresario who changed The Who's name for a time to "The High Numbers" and wrote the lyrics for "I'm The Face" and "Zoot Suit," is found dead at his parents' home of an overdose of alcohol and barbiturates. He was 37 years old.
New music releases: Don't Look Back - Boston; Who Are You - The Who; "Summer Nights" - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John; Live and More - Donna Summer
On the 1st, an exhibition of Who memorabilia assembled by Who fans Steve Margo, Peter Johns and "Irish" Jack Lyons opens at the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall in London. Pete and Keith Moon mingle with the fans looking at the exhibits. Accompanying Keith is the 12-year old son of Ringo Starr, Zak Starkey, who is then receiving drumming lessons from Keith. The exhibition runs through August 31st.
While John remains in England to complete the mixes for The Kids Are Alright soundtrack, Pete and Keith fly to New York City. They appear on ABC-TV's Good Morning America, introducing a clip from The Kids Are Alright. Later Pete and Keith tape a two-part interview with Joel Siegel that airs the next day on ABC-TV's Eyewitness News. These are Keith's last television appearances.
Roger, who is in America staying with his in-laws, joins Pete and Keith for an interview that afternoon with Scott Muni at WNEW-FM. Muni remarks that Keith is looking fit. Keith remarks, "Surprising, seeing as how I keep reading all those reports as how I'm supposed to be sort of close to death."
On the 10th, Roger, Pete and Keith arrive separately at Universal Studios, Hollywood for the press launch of their new album Who Are You. The party takes place on the set of the TV show Battlestar Galactica.
In his autobiography, Pete says, "In August I made a serious attempt to connect with Keith in Malibu while playing piano on a recording session there with Rick Danko and Eric Clapton, who were working with Bob Dylan."
On the 12th, a full-page ad appears in New Musical Express promoting a contest for young, unknown English rock bands to audition to appear in the movie version of Quadrophenia. The Who will judge the winner. In the accompanying interview, Pete says he now writes for "people that are about 33 years old, used to live in Shepherd's Bush, sometimes wear Doc Marten's..."
In the same day's issue of Melody Maker, Paul Weller is interviewed and says he does not enjoy hearing his band The Jam compared to The Who. However, he says their influence on new wave music is significant.
Films Illustrated runs an interview with Roger as his third movie The Legacy is completed. He defends his work in Lisztomania from the critical blasting it received.
Keith has a fight with his girlfriend Anette, so she calls Dr. Geoffrey Dymond to give him a sedative. Dr. Dymond agrees to see Keith as a patient and gives him a prescription for Heminevrin (chlormethiazole), a sedative-hypnotic, anticonvulsant drug used to control alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Although it is not clear what proper procedure was in 1978, this drug is now usually prescribed only in a controlled environment due to the danger of accidental, fatal overdose.
Sometime during this month, John Lydon a/k/a/ Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols, begins actively campaigning to play Jimmy in the Quadrophenia movie. Despite meetings with Pete and director Franc Roddam, he is not given the role.
On the 18th, Who Are You is released in Britain. Charles Shaar Murray in New Musical Express praises the band for recognizing their age and not trying to latch onto the punk rock sound. Chris Welch in Melody Maker says the record has few of the fireworks of previous Who records. Who Are You peaks at #6 on the U.K. charts.
Also on the 18th, Pete is interviewed on Capital Radio's Your Mother Wouldn't Like It.
The U.S. release of the Who Are You album on the 21st is celebrated the night before with a preview in seven U.S. cities accompanied by a laser lightshow. Two of the venues are Griffith Park's Observatory's planetarium in Hollywood and The Palladium in New York.
Who Are You is released in the U.S. on the 21st. It also comes out as a picture disc, as a red vinyl disc in Canada, and a promo version with altered lyrics on the song "Who Are You." Reviews are mixed with positive reviews in Billboard and High Fidelity, so-so in Rolling Stone, and Record Review and negative in Creem and Crawdaddy. The album reaches #2 in the charts, beaten to the top by the soundtrack to Grease, and goes gold by the 24th.
Also on the 21st, Pete may have gone to see Bruce Springsteen perform at Madison Square Garden, the first time Pete had seen him perform.
On the 30th, Keith is called in to CTS Studios in Wembley to re-record some of his drumming to cover up mistakes he made during the "Won't Get Fooled Again" section of the movie The Kids Are Alright. Keith is so completely drugged, probably from abuse of Heminevrin tablets, that he doesn't even recognize longtime Who staff member Cy Langston. Keith fails to provide any usable drum recordings during the session. It is the last known time he ever sits behind a drum kit.
New music releases: Pieces of Eight - Styx; Living in the USA - Linda Ronstadt; Parallel Lines - Blondie; "Le Freak" - Chic
On the 6th, Keith and his girlfriend Anette Walter-Lax attend a party held by Paul McCartney at Peppermint Park, London. They share a table with the McCartneys, David Frost, John Hurt, and Kenney Jones.
At midnight, they attend the London premiere of the new film The Buddy Holly Story at the Odeon in Leicester Square where Keith and Anette are photographed as they enter. After 45 minutes, Keith tells Anette he wants to go home and they leave. Pictures of Keith leaving will be his last.
When they get home Anette cooks a meal of lamb cutlets. Keith goes to sleep watching a video of The Abominable Dr. Phibes. On the 7th, around 7:30am Keith wakes up and demands that Anette cook him a steak. He watches some more Phibes while he eats. After he finishes he goes right back to sleep. Anette awakes from the couch at 3:40pm and goes into Keith's bedroom finding him face down on the bed. She is unable to awaken him so she calls Keith's doctor Geoffrey Dymond who administers CPR, which also fails. Keith Moon is pronounced dead on arrival at Middlesex Hospital, Westminister. He is 32 years old.
Who manager Bill Curbishley's wife Jackie calls Keith at 5pm to set up a meeting and is the first of The Who camp to get the bad news. She calls Pete who then calls Roger. Pete: "He's gone and done it". Roger: "Done what?" Pete: "Moon". John is in the middle of an interview with reporters at his home when Pete calls him. He tries to keep the news to himself, but when asked about the future of The Who, John breaks down, sobbing.
On the same day, a new issue of Rolling Stone hits the stands with a cover story about The Who written by Dave Marsh. In an interview Keith talks about his new enthusiasm about The Who and the need to discipline his life.
On the 8th, twenty-four hours after Keith's death, Pete, John and Roger have a meeting at Shepperton Studios and afterwards, Pete puts out a press release stating that The Who will carry on without Keith. "We are more determined than ever to carry on, and we want the spirit of the group to which Keith contributed so much to go on, although no human being can ever take his place".
On the 9th, preliminary reports from the post mortem show that Keith died from an overdose of the drug Heminevrin. At the Knebworth Festival, Clem Burke of the group Blondie, kicks over his drum set at the end of Blondie's concert, announcing "That's For Keith Moon!" The Tubes end their set with a Who medley.
On the 10th, The Sunday Times of London says that Heminevrin should only be given to a patient while in hospital and wonders how Keith could have been prescribed self-administered tablets.
On the 11th, Keith's body is cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. The official inquest in his death is opened and immediately postponed for a week.
On the 13th, Pete, Roger and John attend Moon's funeral at Golders Green Crematorium. Also there are Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Keith's mom, ex-wife Kim and daughter Mandy. Anette collapses during the service and has to be helped away. Roger sends a floral tribute representing a champagne bottle through a television screen. Wreaths are also sent by Oliver Reed, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Keith's favorite charity, Make Children Happy.
During the month, Pete records "Brooklyn Kids," "Praying The Game" and "The Ferryman" at Abbey Road and "Football Fugue" at Olympic Studios. All feature orchestral backing supplied by Pete's father-in-law, Edwin Astley. They will ultimately be released on Another Scoop.
Creem carries a lengthy article about The Who written before Keith's death by Barbara Charone. Pete is not concerned by punk rock bands' and critics' attacks on The Who and Charone says some of the songs on Who Are You rank with The Who's best.
International Musician and Recording World has a Keith Moon interview as its cover story. In his last magazine interview, a quite sober Keith discusses how he plans to adapt his drumming to cope with the new synthesized drum kits and how the big band drummers of the swing era were a bigger influence on his style than rock 'n' roll drummers. He adds that work on The Who's films is keeping him busy. The last line, concerning future Who concerts, is "We've just got so much to do first".
On the 16th, Melody Maker reports on the many Who projects that were in the pipeline at the time of Keith's death, including a movie version of Lifehouse set to start filming in early 1979. New Musical Express reports that The Who will not seek a permanent replacement for Keith.
On the 18th, the coroner's inquest into Keith's death is held. It is determined that death was caused by an accidental overdose of prescribed Heminevrin tablets, that there had been a "minimal" amount of alcohol in his bloodstream, and that Moon was not in a suicidal state at the time of his death. There were 26 undissolved Heminevrin tablets found in his stomach out of a total of 32 Keith ingested that night.
On the 20th, Who Are You is certified platinum by the RIAA.
Rolling Stone prints a eulogy to Keith by Greil Marcus, who calls him the best drummer in the history of Rock although, in a separate review of The Who's new album Who Are You, he says Moon "seems to have lost most of what he had".
On the 21st, principal photography begins on the film version of Quadrophenia.
New music releases: 52nd Street - Billy Joel; Dire Straits - Dire Straits; "Fat Bottomed Girls" - Queen; Toto - Toto
On the 1st, Roger's third film and his first without Ken Russell at the helm, The Legacy, premiers at the Warner West End 4 Cinema in London.
On the 3rd, Pete joins the Paul McCartney-led supergroup Rockestra to record "Rockestra Theme" and "So Glad To See You Here" released in 1979 on the LP Back To The Egg.
On the 9th, Keith Moon's ex-wife Kim marries former Small Faces member Ian McLagan at Wandsworth Register Office in South London. Keith's mother attends the wedding.
On the 14th, Pete is interviewed for the first time since Keith's death in Melody Maker. Having stated several times over the last year that he had no desire to tour again with The Who, Pete now announces plans for the band to hit the road again. He mentions Kenney Jones among several other drummers as potential replacements for Keith, how he wants to add keyboards and brass to The Who, and how it will be necessary to lower their on-stage sound to protect his hearing. Pete is photographed in Brighton on the set of the movie Quadrophenia.
On the 21st, The Jam's single "Down in The Tube Station at Midnight" enters the British charts. On the flip side is a cover of "So Sad About Us" and the picture sleeve carries a tribute to Keith.
On the 25th, John is interviewed in Variety. He says that if Pete won't tour, he'll form his own band. He also expects no permanent replacement for Keith.
Kenney Jones later says it was this month that The Who told him he had the job of drummer. In addition to his long-time association with the mod movement as the drummer for the Small Faces, Kenney had become Britain's most sought-after session drummer after the break-up of The Faces, impressed Pete while filling in for Keith during the recording of the Tommy soundtrack, and was a favorite of John as well.
New music releases: Greatest Hits 1974-1978 - The Steve Miller Band; "September" - Earth, Wind & Fire; Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Volume 2 - Barbra Streisand; The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire - Vol. 1 - Earth, Wind & Fire
On the 5th, the Who Are You LP is awarded Silver status by the BPI.
John travels to Los Angeles to negotiate with MCA over how much of The Who's original recording of Quadrophenia can be used on the Polydor soundtrack for the film. MCA will only agree to allow 50% of the original album to be used, insisting that if The Who want to use more, they will have to record all new versions.
Also during this trip John starts dating Maxene, a waitress at the Hard Rock Café in Los Angeles. She will ultimately become My Wife #2.
New music releases: Minute By Minute - The Doobie Brothers; Destiny - The Jacksons; "Woman in Love" - The Three Degrees: "Shake Your Groove Thing" - Peaches & Herb
On the 2nd, Billboard announces the release of "Trick Of The Light" backed with "905," the first Who single outside Japan to have both A and B-sides written by John. Their review states: "A furious, unrelenting guitar riff pervades this energetic follow up to "Who Are You" from the eponymous LP and showcases the unique talents of the late Keith Moon in sustaining rhythmic tension." It peaks at #107 in their Top 100 charts. The magazine also has 25 top rock critics pick the 25 best records of the past 25 years. Who's Next places on five lists, and The Who Sings My Generation and The Who Sell Out appear on three each.
On the 4th, MCA releases Who Are You as a picture disc, the label's first to be commercially sold. 60,000 copies are pressed and sell out almost immediately.
On the 9th, Roger is interviewed in the New Musical Express. He mentions Kenny Jones as The Who's new drummer.
Whose Who?: A Who Retrospective by Brian Ashley and Steve Monnery is published.
The Village Voice places Who Are You at #17 in their year-end Pazz & Jop critic's poll.
Principal photography on the movie version of Quadrophenia concludes by the middle of the month.
On the 16th, Alice Cooper's album From The Inside is released. The inside gatefold shows an insane asylum with the words "Inmates From The Memory Of Moonie."
On the 23rd, Billboard reports that 4,000 Who Are You albums were sold in Athens, Greece in three days, a large amount for a rock album there. In-store merchandising aids are credited.
On the 27th, Roger is interviewed by members of the Who's News fanzine. He says that Pete has already signed his solo contract with Atlantic but that The Who haven't decided on a new label (he would prefer CBS). He says Kenney Jones is "the fourth member of the band from now on" but that this is just for studio work; other drummers (or multiple drummers) will be used live. He says The Who "are like an open wound; we need to seal it up."
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