The Who’s Keith Moon gets a thorough examination in ‘Final 24’ DVD

Keith Moon
Final 24: His Final Hours
MVD Visual (MVD4980D) DVD
Grade: ★★★

By John Curley

Through interviews with friends, family, and associates, vintage video clips and photos, and dramatic re-enactments, the tale of the death of one of rock’s liveliest personalities, The Who’s Keith Moon, gets a thorough examination. Moon died on September 7, 1978 at age 32 in a London flat owned by the singer Harry Nilsson, the same flat in which Mama Cass of The Mamas and Papas had died four years earlier. Moon and his girlfriend, former model Annette Walter-Lax, had attended a London party the previous night hosted by Paul McCartney for the UK premiere of the film The Buddy Holly Story. 

The tale of Moon’s demise is a sad one, indeed. Clips showing a young and fit Moon blasting his way through The Who’s “My Generation” in 1967 are juxtaposed with images of him collapsing onstage in San Francisco in 1973 and his final TV appearance, in August 1978 (one month before his death). In that appearance, which was on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America to promote The Who’s then-new album Who Are You, Moon looked terrible, appearing to be about two decades older than he actually was. 

The dramatic re-enactments are predictably cheesy. But the interview segments are really interesting and shed quite a bit of light on Moon’s huge musical talent, his dark side, and the reasons for his untimely death. In addition to Annette Walter-Lax, there are interviews with Alice Cooper, drummer Kenney Jones (who would go on to replace Moon in The Who), Moon’s personal assistant Peter “Dougal” Butler, Moon’s biographer Tony Fletcher, author and Moon’s friend Richard Barnes, former groupie Pamela Des Barres, The Who’s tour manager John Wolff, BBC radio DJ Annie Nightingale, Moon’s friend Roy Carr, and Moon’s daughter Amanda De Wolf. The comments of De Wolf and Walter-Lax are particularly poignant. De Wolf, Moon’s only child, said she wished that she had gotten to know him better and spoke about Moon’s violence toward her mother. (Her mother and Moon divorced when she was seven years old.) Walter-Lax stated that it was her understanding that Moon had planned to ask her to marry him on the day that he died.

Despite its somewhat tabloid TV feel, this documentary is worth a look, especially for fans of The Who. 

A slightly different version of this documentary was aired on The Biography Channel in 2008. 

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One thought on “The Who’s Keith Moon gets a thorough examination in ‘Final 24’ DVD

  1. @admin: I just have to say your site is the first I’ve come across today that doesn’t have spelling errors every other line. Thanks for taking the time to write something that doesn’t look like a 6th grader put together. I apologize, just had to vent.

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