The Beatles and The Who are two of the most famous classic rock bands to come out of England. During a tour of America from the 1960s, The Who constantly listened to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Keith Moon thought one of the songs on the album was about him. Here’s a look at which song Moon played constantly — and whether it was actually about him or another 1960s celebrity.
How The Who reacted to hearing The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’
In July 1967, The Who went to America on tour. In his book Who I Am: A Memoir, Pete Townshend said they visited nearly all the important towns and cities in the country. While on tour, they listened to a certain Beatles album which would become an enduring classic.
“On this tour, we listened to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and not much else,” he recalled. “The shock-wave it caused challenged all comers; no one believed The Beatles would ever top it, or would even bother to try. For me, Sgt. Pepper and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds redefined music in the 20th century: atmosphere, essence, shadow, and romance were combined in ways that could be discovered again and again. Neither album made any deep political or social comment, but ideas were not what mattered. Listening to music had become a drug in itself.”
The Who’s Keith Moon listened to this song from The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ over and over
While Townshend saw Sgt. Pepper as a seminal album, Moon had a very different reaction to it: he thought one of its songs was about him. “Keith Moon had become convinced he was ‘Mr. K’ in The Beatles’ song ‘For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’ from Sgt. Pepper,” Townshend said. Mr. K is one of the performers in the circus mentioned in “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” The lyrics of the song say Mr. K is a man of some renown.
Townshend didn’t think the song had a positive effect on Moon’s ego. “He played it constantly, and his ego began to get out of control,” Townshend wrote. “It could just as easily have been about Murray the K.” For context, Murray the K was a New York City disc jockey who was sometimes referred to as “the fifth Beatle.”
Was the song actually about a member of The Who?
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” wasn’t actually inspired by Moon or Murray the K. It had nothing to do with The Who at all. John Lennon wrote the song after he saw a Victorian circus poster in a store. Some of the song’s lyrics were directly listed from that poster. “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” wasn’t about Moon, however, the song still seemed to resonate with him — judging by the fact that he played it over and over again.