Who drummer Keith Moon lived and performed with great exuberance. His wild, in-your-face, flamboyant style of drumming became his on-stage trademark. Off stage, he was known as one of rock's most intense characters. He lived a rowdy and dangerous life, and tales of his excesses on the party circuit were legendary. Keith Moon was only 32 when he died on September 7, 1978 of an overdose of a drug prescribed to combat his alcoholism.
Roger Daltry being interviewed soon after Keith Moon's death
Keith Moon's drums explode... The Who on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
This is the infamous "explosion heard coast to coast" on national television. Three times the normal amount of flash powder was loaded into Keith Moon's drums, with disastrous results.
On Sunday, September 17, 1967, The Who appeared on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," which followed Ed Sullivan on CBS. Tom and Dick Smothers were popular young comedians who often tackled socially controversial topics. Their show had a decidely young, hip audience and was a favorite among the growing counterculture movement. As such, they often featured musical guests from the world of rock and roll, an uncommon practice on TV shows of that era.
The climax of The Who's performance was supposed to be a controlled flash powder explosion inside Keith's drums at the conclusion of their song "My Generation." With a rare chance to impress a nationwide American TV audience, Moon decided to place a double load of explosive in his drum kit, not knowing that stagehands had already stocked it with a regular charge. The ensuing triple force explosion sent a cymbal into Keith's leg, and contributed to a permanent hearing loss for Pete Townsend.
Who bassist John Entwistle died June 27, 2002 of a heart attack blamed in part on cocaine use. Entwistle suffered from a heart condition, and the small amount of cocaine he ingested was enough to fatally damage his already weakened heart.
Interview with John Entwistle shortly before his death