Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Moondog

Louis T. Hardin, Jr., usually known as "Moondog," was a blind musician and composer well known in the world of jazz, classical, and rock music. However, during the mid-twentieth century, he was perhaps best known as an eccentric and iconoclastic street personality who hung out in Manhattan, mostly on the corner of 6th Avenue and 53rd Street, dressed as a Viking and banging a drum.
Hardin was born in 1916 in Kansas and then lived in Wyoming, but his family moved to Hurley, Missouri, when he was thirteen. He played in the Hurley High School Band, but when he was sixteen, he lost his sight in an accident when a dynamite cap exploded in his face. He finished high school at a school for the blind in Iowa and later moved to the Batesville, Arkansas, area with his family.
In his mid to late twenties, he moved to New York, made the acquaintance of classical musicians like Leonard Bernstein and jazz performers like Benny Goodman, and soon made his own name in the musical world. In 1947, he started calling himself "Moondog" in honor a dog he had had in Hurley that, according to the musician, howled at the moon more than any dog he had ever heard of.
In 1974, Moondog moved to Germany to be closer to his Viking heritage, and he lived the rest of his life there, dying in 1999.

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