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The Day Keith Moon Joined Led Zeppelin Onstage

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Having John Bonham behind the kit already gave Led Zeppelin an edge over most other rock bands. Adding Keith Moon to the mix would have been simply unfair.

Yet that’s precisely what happened for a few tantalizing moments during Zeppelin’s stop at the Forum in Los Angeles on June 23, 1977, when the legendary Who drummer stepped out onstage to join Bonham and John Paul Jones in the rhythm section. As with much of what Moon did during his too-brief career, the whole thing seemed fairly informal, and he didn’t have his own kit; instead, he added bongos and tambourine before briefly sitting at Bonham’s drums.

The percussion summit, some of which is captured in the above footage, also included some of Moon’s trademark tomfoolery; aside from banging on stuff during the band’s set, he also tried stepping up to the mic to talk to the crowd, though singer Robert Plant had the sense to put a quick stop to Moon’s slurred emceeing. You can see more photos from this show at the band’s official site.

As Who and Zeppelin fans are aware, Moon’s stage visit was a long time coming; in fact, legend has it that Moon was the one who inspired Zeppelin’s name. Sadly, this show marked the end of an era: Moon would never appear on another U.S. stage, dying on September 7, 1978, and Bonham died a little more than two years later on Sept. 25, 1980. Both drummers were known for their offstage antics and punishing lifestyles as much as for their incredible musical gifts — and they were both 32 at the time of their deaths.

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