Louis 'Moondog' Hardin, musician, composer, poet, street person extraordinair, and former Candor resident (1958-74) died Wednesday (Sept. 8) in a hospital in Munster, Germany. The cause of death was heart failure.
From 1958 to '73, Hardin divided his time between Candor and New York City.
Blinded by a blasting cap at the age of 16, he continued his musical training at the Iowa School for the Blind and in 1943, moved to New York City.
The son of an Episcopal minister, he was born May 26, 1916 in Maryville, Kansas. At various times in his young life, the family lived in Kansas, Missouri and Wyoming.
Because of his experiences and closeness to native American Indians, those elements often found expression in his musical compositions.
Upon arriving in New York, Hardin, a landmark Street personality, dressed in unusual garb and often as a Viking, he peddled his poetry, philosophy and music to the throngs on the streets and avenues of Manhattan. He was the most recognizable, famous street personality in the 2Oth century.
Hardin was associated with everyone, from the New York Philharmonic to the Jazz greats, Lester Young and Charlie Parker, the beats of the 50s and the Hippies of the 60s.
He composed an eclectic variety of musical forms: avant-garde classical, jazz, percussion, folk tunes. One of Janis Joplin's earliest recordings was his composition, "All is Loneliness".
In 1974, Hardin was invited to do a musical tour of Europe. He decided to stay and made his home in Germany. In Europe, he enjoyed a good measure of success with supportive musicians and recording opportunities.
His last appearance in the United States was in 1989 for a performance with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. Although he had shed his Viking attire, his clothing was still quite unique.
Sharing a friendship with him for some three plus decades, the most poignant summerization of his life, I can express, is that Louis "Moondog" Hardin was a very decent and gentle soul who obviously did it his way.