Under a Raging Moon is the sixth solo studio album by Roger Daltrey. The album was released in September 1985 with Alan Shacklock (Meat Loaf, Jeff Beck) producing. The album reached No. 42 on the US charts, and the single After the Fire, written by Pete Townshend, reached No. 48. It included a tribute to Keith Moon, former drummer of The Who, who died in 1978, on the track Under a Raging Moon.
I purchased the record strictly off the strength of its lead single, After the Fire, which was written by former band mate Pete Townshend. It had some great lyrics which dealt with the idea of growing older, and how life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After the Fire sounded like a long-lost The Who track, and to this day, I am still surprised on how it only reached to No.48 on the singles chart. Maybe it simply didn’t fit in with the excess and bombast of MTV generation.
Granted, Under a Raging Moon doesn’t reach the creative heights of some of The Who or even Pete Townshend’s solo record, but it did bring Daltrey back to his rock roots, capturing what he is best known for-his hard-edged voice.
Highlights on the record are the following: the introspective album opener After the Fire,
the pop-rocker; Let Me Down Easy,the mid-tempo rockers; Breaking Down Paradise and Rebel.
Without a doubt the pièce de résistance is the over six-and-a-half-minute title track. Under a Raging Moon was written by John Parr (St. Elmo's Fire) and Julia Downes. Although the track is dedicated To “Kit,” which probably refers to Daltrey’s late manager, Kit Lambert, it is clearly about the deceased Who drummer Keith Moon. The heartfelt title track, starts with a very Who-like organ and ends with a star-studded line up of drummers:Martin Chambers (The Pretenders), Roger Taylor (Queen), Stewart Copeland (The Police), Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr), Carl Palmer (ELP), Mark Brzezicki (Big Country) and Cozy Powell), taking the sticks and paying tribute.
My minor issue with Under a Raging Moon is that it does suffer from 80s production values. Some tracks sound cold and fail to capture Daltrey’s vocal intensity.
Besides the minor issue, I really wish that this record would get properly remastered and reissued so that rock fans can rediscover this hidden gem in the Daltrey catalogue.