Keith Moon Hot Licks: Miraculous Thrashing

from Who’s Next
“Bargain” opens with a classic rock and roll drum fill in which Moon plays snare ghost notes between the accents; these are felt more than heard, yet they contribute lots of energy to the feel. For the timekeeping duties, Moon again makes frequent use of his bass drum, playing eighth-notes of varying volumes while hammering snare notes and brief tom fills on top of them.

“Baby Don’t You Do It”
from Odds & Sods
This song begins with just drums and vocals, and features Moon’s take on a Bo Diddley groove that usually accents counts 1, the & of 2, 4, and counts 2 and 3 of the following measure (an accent pattern also known as a 3:2 son clave). Moon improvises around this rhythmic foundation while complementing every nuance of Daltry’s vocal part. Variations on this groove have been popular since the ’50s and countless songs have made great use of it, from Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and Bow Wow Wow’s cover of The Strangelove’s “I Want Candy,” through to U2’s “Desire.”

“Love Rein O’er Me”
from Quadrophenia
This emotional 12/8 song begins quietly, and Moon enters with rolling cymbal crescendos before exploding into powerful fills that have a hint of swing (implied in so much of the music from the late ’60s). Though Moon stomps eighth-notes on his bass drum for most of this song and adds fills over it, he plays his bass drum less repetitively for the intro section transcribed here.

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