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Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon Paperback – 11 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 632 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (11 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844498077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844498079
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 4.7 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tony Fletcher is the author of six non-fiction books, a memoir, and a novel. His biography of drummer Keith Moon has been named in many a Best Music Book list, and his biography of R.E.M., updated in 2013 as 'Perfect Circle,' has been published in over half a dozen countries. His 2009 study, 'All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music From The Streets of New York 1927-77,' published by WW Norton, covered multiple musical genres and was internationally acclaimed. His most recent biography, 'A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths' was published by William Heinemann in the UK, by Crown Archetype in the US, and is now available in paperback. His memoir of his South London schooldays, 'Boy About Town,' is also now available in paperback through Windmill Books.

Fletcher gained his entry into music journalism by founding a fanzine at his London school in 1977; by the time Jamming! ceased publication in 1986, it was selling 30,000 copies a month. Along the way he interviewed the likes of Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and U2, as well as dozens of up-and-coming, predominantly independent post-punk acts.

A contributor over the years to a multitude of magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows, primarily in the UK and USA, Fletcher now lives with his family on a mountaintop near the village of Woodstock in New York State. There he runs, skis, maintains his web site, serves on his local school board, and plays Hammond B-3 and Rickenbacker in the Catskill 45s, a group that only performs songs from 45 calendar years ago.

Product Description

Amazon Review

When the young Keith Moon was beating the tar out of his drum-kit in Shepherd's Bush in 1964 it would have been unthinkable that this sparky little mod kid would have been the subject of a door- stopping 500-page biography. But young Keith soon mutated into Moon the Loon and joined the pantheon of legendary rock and roll wild men who lived fast and died young and 500 pages now seems the minimum space needed to cover his many excesses.

Tony Fletcher has drawn heavily on interviews with Moon's wife, his sister and his girlfriend for the last eight years of his life. Oliver Reed, Alice Cooper, and Larry Hagman also have their say and the picture that emerges is of a man whose outrageous antics sprung from an absurdly over- generous personality. The drink, the drugs and the trashed hotel rooms are all splendidly chronicled as is the music. His drug-fuelled demise is not a pretty sight but Moon had always walked the walk and so the fact that, unlike the other members of The Who, he actually did die before he got old, ultimately comes as no surprise. --Nick Wroe. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Horrific and terrific reading.'Q 'One of the great rock biographies.' --Record Collector

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Green Man Music on 28 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Dear Boy" is many kinds of a book. Whilst it is of course a rock biography, it is also by turns a comedy, a romance, psychoanalysis and probably most of all, a tragedy.
Since first hearing the Who as a Mod in the 1980s during the death of the youth cult's revival that began in 1979, I have been fascinated with the life of the band that have been important for so many followers of music, mod and rocker alike. "Dear Boy" is the greatest insight into Keith - and in fact The Who - since Barnes' "Before I Get Old".
In "Dear Boy", Fletcher begins with Keith's childhood, where even then it was wondered if he suffered with some form of hyperactivity. Insights range from his life at home with his mild-mannered parents, divided from them by a curtain spanning the living-room behind which he played his drums; to his practical jokes on the streets which were the forerunner of some of his later, more famous antics.
The book follows his musical career from the Beachcombers (apparently the happiest time of his life) to The Who. It reveals the complex relationships he shared with the other band members. His practical joking he shared with John Entwistle (they bought a car together containing hidden speakers so they could alarm the public with their announcements), his destructiveness he shared with Pete Townshend (jointly responsible for the hotel smashing escapades but always happy to leave Keith with all the credit), and his see-saw relationship with Roger Daltrey, who was once almost thrown out of the band for beating Keith up whilst on tour.
But the true tragedy of his life is revealed through his friends and family. Keith, desperate to be wanted and loved, tried to be liked by everyone.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Miss Eve Frazer on 21 July 2001
Format: Paperback
I have always been a massive 'Who' fan and especially in awe of Keith Moon. This book totally justifies why Keith was the best drummer this planet has ever had. However, it is not just a one sided account and explores Keith's tempramental side as well. It isn't until you finish this book that you realise, had Keith been alive today it would probably have been recognised that he had some very serious mental problems that he masked so efficiently by being 'Moon the Loon'. If you want to read a really good unbiased account of Keith's life, buy this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By AK 1957-05 on 28 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a weighty tome that you will breeze through like an airport potboiler. Particularly if you love The Who and their music - the author (despite some curmudgeonly feedback from the participants) appears to get under the skin of the band and lets us know what it must have been like to have been there.

The main feeling we're left with after reading this book is intense sorrow - Moon was a sensitive, gentle youth with an inexplicable predilection for violence and mayhem. There is little or no reference to that violence being directed against men - women (occasionally) and property are the targets of his excess of energy.

Perhaps the most revealing line in the book for me was when a neighbour describes Moon goose-stepping, alone, in his Nazi regalia on the beach in California early in the morning. We realise that the skylarking was for his own amusement, rather than for the benefit of onlookers.

Your heart goes out to the women in his life, including his daughter, who stuck with him through what seems to be unbearable behaviour at times. You really do feel like slapping him as one pointless, destructive prank follows another (and the author does have a tendency to chuckle along sometimes). When the end comes, it's not dealt with like some dramatic soap opera - the details are laid out plainly and without sensation. It's all the more heartbreaking for being so prosaic. Little touches, like the description of Daltrey crying throughout Moon's service, remain in the mind long after you put this book down.

A terrific read, one that will change your perception of Keith Moon.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 July 2000
Format: Hardcover
'How do you capture an exploding time bomb?' Indeed, Tony Fletcher set about the task, and where most would have given up half way through, Fletcher carried on, much to his own pains he reveals late on in the book. The life of Keith Moon was (and still is) a life full of bent truths, hyperactivity and constant motion. The combination of the three means that the task Fletcher set about doing was never going to be easy. Much to his credit, he has not only taken the task by the throat, but he has also got it under control. Such an example is where, after thirty five years of rock myth about Keith's audition with the Who being at a gig where the bands normal drummer was kicked out, he reveals it to much more orthadox. Keith Moon had a proper audition with the Who. Indeed, this is a common theme through out the book. Tony Fletcher upends myths and tales and manages, somehow, to drag the truth out of the usually overworked (for humoristic effect) stories. When Fletcher does tell the truth is often when you don't want to believe it, but in reading the high standing of the preceeding pages you do. Tales of Moon's treatment of wife Kim and girlfriend Annete can only be true given that the possibility ill mental health is raised (and backed up with evidence) in the book. In researching the book, Tony Fletcher flew all over the world, and interviewed those closest to Moon, including his sister, his wife, the Small Faces Ian Mclagen and Kenny Jones, his minder Peter Butler,the list goes on. Speaking as a person who, before reading this book, wasn't really aware of the Who or Keith Moon, I view it as the best possible way to be introduced to them all. Also speaking as someone of nineteen years of age, this book makes me wish Moon was still alive so there would exist the slightest chance of meeting the man himself.
As Keith probably would have put it, nice one, dear boy.
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