Keith Moon was working as the doorman at the Navarro Hotel in New York when Pope Paul VI died. It was August 6, 1978. He was fittingly dressed in a six-foot-long Indian Chieftain headdress.
According to the hotel manager, he was being cordial to the arriving guests as he carried their bags to the front desk. He passed all his tips to the real bellman.
He charged into our suite with a long kite’s tail of groupies, bellboys and our panting security guys still wearing his hat.
“Have you got the news yet?” He was nearly moaning with excitement. “Some Pope is dead! I heard it from a bloke from Indianapolis as I was doing his bags.”
He whirled on Anne Wheldon our publicist who on a standard day is too high-strung to take a deep breath. “Anne,” he commanded,” get me someone on the line right now from The New York Times and Billboard Magazine.”
He started to wring his hands, “Go right to the top. I am throwing my hat into this Papal ring.”
She got somebody from the Times within minutes.
He hunched over the phone. We hung on his side of the conversation.”
That’s right, I have wanted to leave the band for years”, he confirmed.
“No, I am not Catholic,” he paused sensing his own tactical error.” “Yet,” he attached.
“And don’t let that motherfucker Mick Jagger hear about this, he is the devil you know.” quickly covering a loose base.
He put both hands over the phone and with confusion in his eyes yelled at us, ” Fuck, he wants to know what I think qualifies me to be the next Pope.” Ever quick, Bill Curbishley shouted back to him” Tell him twenty-five platinum albums.”