In the pulsating world of rock, few bands command the reverence that The Who does. Central to their iconic sound is the rhythmic heartbeat set by the drummer in The Who. But who is the force behind those legendary beats?
Over the years, the drumsticks have been passed among Doug Sandom, the unparalleled Keith Moon, and the dynamic Kenney Jones. Each brought a unique tempo, a distinct flair.
Dive in, and let’s explore the drumming maestros who gave The Who its rhythm, pulse, and unforgettable sonic signature. Ready to embark on this rhythmic journey?
The Early Days: Doug Sandom
In the band’s embryonic stages, when they were still finding their identity and went by “The Detours,” Sandom was the rhythmic backbone. His steady beats and traditional style provided a grounding force, allowing the other members to experiment and find their sound.
Sandom’s influence was subtle yet essential. He brought a sense of discipline and structure, laying the groundwork for what would come. However, as the band’s musical direction evolved, it became apparent that they needed a different drumming style.
This divergence in vision, coupled with some personal differences, led to Sandom’s amicable departure, making way for the whirlwind that was Keith Moon.
The Legend: Keith Moon
Born in Wembley, London, Moon’s early fascination with music saw him drumming on anything he could find. This innate passion led him to The Who, and together, they redefined rock.
From local gigs to global tours, Moon’s presence was instrumental in catapulting the band to stardom.
Moon’s drumming was unorthodox. Eschewing traditional beats, he opted for explosive, intricate rhythms that became The Who’s signature.
His style wasn’t just about keeping time; it was about creating an atmosphere, a mood. This innovative approach influenced countless drummers, showing that the drum kit wasn’t just a rhythm section but a lead instrument in its own right.
Unfortunately, the world lost Moon too soon, his untimely death leaving a void in the music industry. But legends never indeed die.
Today, he’s remembered not just for his wild personality but for his unparalleled contribution to rock music. In drumming circles and beyond, Keith Moon remains an enduring symbol of raw talent and unbridled passion.
The Successor: Kenney Jones
Following the irreplaceable Keith Moon was no easy feat. Yet, one drummer dared to take up the mantle: Kenney Jones. Stepping into such monumental shoes, Jones brought his own rhythm to The Who, ensuring the beat went on.
While the initial transition had its challenges, Jones’ professionalism and distinct style gradually found its groove within the band’s framework.
Before joining The Who, Jones had already tasted success with The Small Faces and The Faces.
His experience and adaptability were evident as he seamlessly integrated, bringing a more restrained yet equally powerful drumming style.
This change was evident in tracks like “You Better You Bet” and “Eminence Front,” where Jones’ precision and flair shone through.
With Jones on the drums, The Who delivered some memorable performances, both live and in the studio.
From the rock-driven beats of “Athena” to the live energy of their 1982 Farewell Tour, Jones proved time and again that while he was different from Moon, he was a drumming force in his own right.
The Who’s Drumming Evolution
The rhythmic journey of The Who is as dynamic as their legendary tracks. Each drummer brought a new beat, a fresh style, and a distinct chapter in the band’s history.
Doug Sandom laid the foundation with a steady beat, setting the stage for what was to come. Enter Keith Moon, the wild card whose frenetic and explosive style turned drumming conventions on their head.
His beats weren’t just about rhythm; they were a chaotic symphony that defined The Who’s early sound. Then came Kenney Jones, bringing a more measured and precise approach. While he retained the band’s energy, Jones added a layer of technical finesse that was distinctly his own.
Throughout these transitions, The Who’s essence remained intact. The raw energy of their early days evolved into a mature, refined sound without losing its edge.
From the rebellious anthems of the ’60s to the more polished tracks of the ’80s, the drums were a constant, echoing the band’s evolution while paying homage to its roots.
Who were the drummers for The Who?
The Who had three main drummers over the years: Doug Sandom, Keith Moon, and Kenney Jones. The first was Doug Sandom, who was in the band from 1962 to 1964.
Keith Moon joined the group after two years in the band and stayed there for 14 years. To be precise, from 1964 to 1978. Unfortunately, Moon died due to a drug overdose. In 1978, Kenney Jones replaced Moon’s position, and he did that quite well.
How did Keith Moon’s drumming style influence The Who’s music?
Keith Moon’s frenetic and unconventional drumming style became a hallmark of The Who’s sound, adding unique energy and rhythm to their tracks. His passionate and intense style of drumming added an unprecedented degree of intensity to the band’s sound.
Moon’s drumming created a powerful foundation that launched The Who’s songs to new heights, with lightning-fast fills, booming bass drum patterns, and explosive cymbal crashes.
How was Kenney Jones received as Moon’s successor?
While Kenney Jones was a respected drummer in his own right, stepping into Moon’s role was challenging. Some fans embraced the change, while others missed Moon’s distinctive style.
The Who, an emblematic figure in rock history, owes much of its rhythmic soul to the drummers behind the kit. From Doug Sandom’s foundational beats to Keith Moon’s revolutionary fervor and Kenney Jones’ refined precision, each drummer carved a unique sonic identity for the band.
Their collective contributions shaped The Who’s iconic sound and left an indelible mark on the world of rock drumming. As we reflect on their beats, rhythms, and legacies, it’s evident that the heart of The Who’s music lies in the hands of these drumming legends.