Inspired by the fact that all of the other members of the Who had been indulging in solo projects (with distinctly different levels of success), Two Sides of the Moon should have been Keith’s moment to shine. However even bringing in a bunch of his superstar friends - including Spencer Davis, Bobby Keys, Rick Nelson, Harry Nilsson, John Sebastian, Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh and Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan from the Turtles/the Mothers of Invention) failed to raise the LA recording sessions above carnage, and the resulting album is a travesty. The bastard cousin of other mid-70’s studio excesses – Nilsson’s Pussycats, the Lennon/Spector sessions that resulted in Roots/Rock ‘n’ Roll and the bloated, brandy and cocaine-fuelled Goodnight Vienna sessions - Two Sides of the Moon shines as a beacon of the unrestrained generosity of the music industry. Who today would fork out $200,000 (well over $1million today) for such an exercise in vanity?
Preceded by a single, a cover of the Beach Boys’ Don't Worry Baby (re-recorded for the album with Keith singing in a lower register: both versions are horrible), the album consists of cover versions – he revisits the Who's The Kids Are Alright, massacres the Beatles' In My Life " beyond all recognition – and new material provided by his pals, including Ringo (who ‘duets’ with Keith on Together), Harry Nilsson and John Lennon, who provided Move Over Ms L. Lennon would later re-record the track as the B-side to his hit cover of Stand By Me.
One school of though has it that Two Sides of the Moon was supposed to be messy: how can anyone take this seriously? The reversible inner cover for the LP, which shows Keith’s naked bottom doing a ‘moonie’ out of his car window, should have been sign enough that this project was meant to be a joke. Why then did he begin sessions for a follow up, shelved after the appalling sales of Two Sides of the Moon?
Recent reissues have added a slew of bonus cuts, including tracks recorded for the aborted second solo album. Would it have been any better? We’ll never know. Moon died three years after this sole solo project came out.
So, to save you the pain of having to listen to the entire album, here are three wholly representative cuts from Two Sides of the Moon, the aforementioned Don't Worry Baby, In My Life and Together.