Mike Plumbley:


Louis Hardin aka Moondog, New York street poet, composer, percussionist, born in Maryville, Kansas, in 1916. He was blinded at the age of 16 when a blasting cap went off in his hands. Louis Hardin came to New York virtually penniless in 1943 and lived on the streets for 30 years. He met musicians of the New York Philarmonic Orchestra outside the stage door of Carnegie Hall and through them was introduced to conductor Arthur Rodzinski.
Rodzinski invited Louis Hardin to the orchestra's rehearsals and offered to conduct a symphony if he ever wrote one. Louis Hardin adopted the name Moondog in 1947 after a pet that howled at the moon. Wore homemade robes, cape, a Viking helmet and carried a spear around New York's 54th Street where he became known as 'the Viking of Sixth Avenue'.
Alan Freed, the rock'n'roll DJ played Moondog's 'Moondog Symphony' a 78-rpm disc released in the mid 1950s. In the 1960s Moondog was given access to an orchestra and his music has been released on CBS, Prestige, Epic, Angel and the Mars labels. Moondog's All Is Loneliness became a hit for Janis Joplin. He also wrote music for television and radio commercials and had a composition on the soundtrack of Jack Nicholson film 'Drive, He Said'.
Moondog left the streets of New York in 1974 after being invited to Germany for recordings and performances of his symphonic music. Geremany became his base where he was acclaimed for concerts in Paris, Stockholm and all over Germany recording a series of albums. In 1989 he returned to New York to conduct the Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.
Dr. Robert Scotto, professor of English at Baruch College, City University of New York has written an, as yet, unpublished biography called "Moondog: The Viking of Sixth Avenue". Dr. Robert Scotto is quoted as saying "Without question, he was the most famous street person of his time, a hero to a generation of hippies and flower children."
Louis 'Moondog' Hardin aka Moondog died in hospital in Munster Germany on September 8th, 1999. He was 83.