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5 Famous Musicians Who Went Solo (and Insane)

#2. Keith Moon of the Who Did Drunken Karaoke, Forgot He Was a Drum God

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You Know Him As:

The reason nobody in the Who can hear anymore.

But on His Own:

Moon, an undisputed drum god, could've just recorded a bunch of drum instrumentals, and it would've panned out perfectly. Instead, he got drunk, hit "record," butchered other people's music, and sold it as Two Sides of the Moon. Instead of everything panning out perfectly, everything was just plain panned.

Via Wikipedia
His bare ass is on the back cover, but that's on you to research.

Here's the whole album, in case you ever run out of ways to torture yourself. For reasons that all suspiciously stink of gin, one of the greatest drummers of all time chose to barely drum, instead recruiting EIGHT different people to bang for him. That's like a world-class chef opening his own restaurant and hiring middle school lunch ladies to make everything while he sits back and samples the sherry.

On the rare tracks where he deigns to drum, you can tell, because it actually sounds decent. Until he sings, that is. Even though he openly admitted that he couldn't sing, he does so anyway, and drunkenly to boot. His pitch is worse than the Chicago Cubs, and his version of "In My Life" is so awful, you'll despise the Beatles by mere association.

Nobody liked the album, even ironically. This wasn't just because it was glorified karaoke performed by the most blitzed guy at the bar, but because of who the blitzed guy was. Keith fucking Moon turning in an amateur, uncreative, and unprofessional album that didn't play to anything resembling his strengths was sad for all. As critic Roy Carr told him, "Moonie, if you didn't have talent, I wouldn't care; but you have, which is why I'm not about to accept Two Sides of the Moon."

And yet, because the music industry will jump at any chance to make even a piddling bit of cash, the rock and roll equivalent of a class valedictorian forgetting how to spell "cat" saw TWO rereleases, in 1997 and 2006. Nobody gave a shit either time, in what will go down in history as the one and only time a record company ever made a mistake.

#1. Stewart Copeland of the Police Stumbled Through African Tribal Music

Michel Boutefeu/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You Know Him As:

The other guy from the Police. Stewart Copeland was the band's drummer, which meant he was the first to be forgotten once his good-looking bassist eclipsed the band and EE-YO-OH'd his way to fame and fortune.

Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Not a re-enactment.

But on His Own:

Due to a vague "desire to study the roots of music," Stewart Copeland put out an entire album of African tribal music. Called The Rhythmatist, you don't hear Copeland sing much, if at all. Sting never letting him do so while in the Police suggests that this is probably a good thing.

So what does he do? He drums over African chants supplied by other people. Y'know, actual Africans. If the tribe that made the music released this under their name, everything would've been peachy. But since they didn't, we're stuck with this guy ...

Michel Boutefeu/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images


... selling his peachy ass as a traditional African dancey dude.

The album kicks off with "Brazzaville," which rambles on for about a minute before Copeland finally gets his drum kit set up. This means that the Stewart Copeland album starts with no Stewart Copeland. It's the best part of the album.

Shortly thereafter, we get a traditional African sitar, because there's America, and then there's Everything Else. Why not a didgeridoo, too? Let's just stick all the world's instruments into one clusterfuck of a record and call it "Pangaea Rock."

It gets even stupider, thanks to the video for "Koteja (Oh Bolilla)," where Copeland casts himself as the cream-filling life of the chocolate cookie party and thoroughly embarrasses himself in the process. He dances (kind of), crashes an ancient ceremony and gets away with it because he promised to leave immediately after (he lied), and showed the natives how keyboards work, in case they ever get bored with real instruments.

Finally, the smartest people in the village realize Copeland really shouldn't be there and chase him around the block with pain on their minds and bloodlust in their eyes. He escapes by turning left, a cunning strategy no silly tribal man had ever thought about before. If only that album could have done the same thing to people with functioning ears.


Jason interviews, edits, columns, and lays stuff out for Cracked. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and his website.

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