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The Curious Life Of “Moondog”; Occasionally A Homeless Man and A Musical Genius of the Past

*For a better and more intense reading experience, start listening to the song as you read this post. I promise, it’s worth it.

Louis Thomas Hardin, aka Moondog, was not your typical homeless man striding across the streets of New York City. He had willfully chosen to be the man of the streets when he moved there from Kansas as a young man. He maintained an apartment in Manhattan however preferred to spend most of his time on the streets. A blind poet, composer, and inventor of several musical instruments (according to this Wikipedia article.) Moondog became well known for his unusual style depicting his idea of the Norse god Odin (who, by the way, is the father of the infamous thunder god Thor.)

Inevitably, Moondog was called “The Viking of 6th Avenue” for much of his life. Very well known by the jazz scene in New York City, he played in front of jazz clubs on 6th Avenue. This lead him to be recognized by names such as Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Stravinsky (according to this BBC Review of Moondog.)- which subsequently landed him some label deals.

Influenced by the cacophonous sounds underlying a big city, Moondog’s music is especially wacky and visionary: even when listened to in 2014, one can’t let go of a modern feeling, and from hearing novel sounds of the future. For a surreal, modern and an easy listening experience, I suggest Moondog’s Moondog album. It’s magical, and it provides the listener with a window to Moondog’s mind; where darkness was dissolved by music and poetry. You can listen to the album right here.

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