On September 6, 1978, Keith Moon attended a screening of the movie The Buddy Holly Story held by Paul McCartney and his wife Linda. The Who had released the album Who Are You less than a month earlier to critical acclaim, and the screening promised to be one of the biggest social events in London that year. He had initially turned down the invitation, but as the night wore on finally gave in. He was given a seat of honor at the hosts' dinner table. He also announced plans to propose to his girlfriend that night — Keith Moon had every intention of getting his life together, of settling down.
Moon had come to London's West End to escape from the world of rock and roll and all of the temptations it offered, as he tried to kick an alcohol addiction that had been raging out of control for more than a decade. He was staying at a flat owned by friend Harry Nilsson with the woman he planned to propose to, Swedish model Annette Walter-Lax. He had been prescribed the medication Heminevrin, a strong sedative, to counter his withdrawal symptoms during detox.
Moon had been reluctant to attend the McCartneys' preview party; he knew what temptations might possibly be waiting for him and he didn't trust himself to be strong enough to turn them down. He had been through failed rehab attempts before and had decided that the only way to guarantee success was to completely avoid all situations where alcohol would be served.
Keith Moon had many reasons to turn his life around: he was in love with Annette and had decided to ask her to marry him; his band's latest album was a huge commercial and critical success; and more importantly, his health and his drumming were beginning to suffer from the years of drug and alcohol abuse. He also had one other motivation to dry out. He had passed out several times over the years in the middle of concerts; on one such occasion, Pete Townshend had pulled an audience member up on stage and the 19-year-old boy had filled in for Moon — to the audience's delight. The band had let him know, in no uncertain terms, that he could be replaced, and would be, if he didn't get his drinking under control. Moon was determined to get his life together once and for all. He was determined to kick booze out of his life for good.
But it wasn't just alcohol that was a problem for Keith Moon. From the time he had joined The Who at age 17, he had cultivated a reputation for craziness, from throwing furniture and TV sets out of hotel windows to stripping naked or wearing elaborate costumes. Keith Moon was the life of the party at every party he attended. People followed him around just waiting to see what he would do next. On the night before his death Moon was concerned that he would be disappointing his fans and friends if he showed up straight and boring.