September 8, 1999
Louis T. Hardin, a musician and composer who adopted the name “Moondog” and became known for living on Manhattan streets dressed as a Viking and beating a drum, died in Munich, Germany. Hardin was born in Kansas and lost his sight as a teenager when a dynamite cap exploded. He learned to play the piano in Batesville (Independence County) after his father became rector of St. Paul’s Church there. After study at the Memphis Conservatory of Music, Hardin moved to New York where he met influential and prestigious musicians like Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, and Leonard Bernstein. His music was played by jazz, classical, and rock musicians alike. He became even better known and recorded more after he moved to West Germany.