F or a little while in the early s, he was just the blind guy with the vast beard who stood at 54th Street and 6th Avenue in New York playing home-made drums. But Louis Thomas Hardin wasn't your average busker. By the time of his death at age 83 in , he had written more than 80 symphonies, rounds, countless organ and piano works, scores for brass bands and string orchestras, and five books called The Art of the Canon. His compositions had been sung by women as varied as Julie Andrews and Janis Joplin. He also left a nine-hour piece for 1, musicians and singers called Cosmos, which is yet to be performed.
Woah. We are flattered you shared our blog post!
There's only room for one Moondog
But the world knew him as Moondog. And the world did, for a time, know him. Moondog, who died in Germany in at the age 83, was the most celebrated of New York street denizens from the late s through He dressed like a Viking, spouted short-burst poetry in a stentorian voice and cranked out unlikely consonant music on homemade instruments. The Beats took him in, later the counter-culture hippies, then the art crowd ferried him overseas. And if you turned on a television for more than 10 minutes during the year , you heard his music remixed for a Lincoln Navigator ad that played nonstop. He collaborated with the young Philip Glass, was promoted by a top rock producer, has been covered by artists as diverse as Janis Joplin and Antony and the Johnsons, and had a booster in Elvis Costello. British documentarian and one-time stand-in for Po on Teletubbies!
I am in the regimented society, but not of it. Amidst the shrill horns, screeching tires, and tumbling foot traffic of Manhattan, the sightless giant would gently rap on his drum, advertising his wares -- a set of albums and hand-written poems -- to anyone interested. To the whole of the public, he was nothing more than a nutty, homeless waif. But unbeknownst to them, the Viking -- known more formally as Louis Hardin, Jr. His parents also imparted on him an affection for music -- particularly percussion. Through this odyssey, Hardin accumulated a visionary collage of experiences -- until tragedy struck. Toward the tail end of his time in Missouri, on the 4th of July, Hardin, then 16, came across a curious, cylindrical object out in the fields and began to toss it around. In the years following his accident , Hardin encountered a number of struggles -- chiefly, learning Braille, adjusting to a life without eyesight, and coping with the ugly divorce of his parents.