Moondog (born Louis T. Hardin (May 26, 1916 - September 8, 1999) was an American folk artist, composer and poet.
Moondog was a musical autodidactic with special interest in Native American music. He became blind at age 16 when a stick of dynamite exploded close to his face. In 1947 he changed his name to Moondog, in honour of "a dog I had in Hurley, Missouri, who used to howl at the moon more than any dog I knew of." He became a street musician and poet in New York. Because of his long beard people described him as "a man with the face of Jesus Christ". To avoid such comparisons Moondog started dressing himself in a robe, a Viking helmet and a spear.
During his long life Moondog composed hundreds of musical works, known for their minimalistic and complex qualities. His albums "Moondog" (1969) and "Moondog 2" (1971) became cult records. He was admired by musical icons as diverse as Igor Stravinsky, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Leonard Bernstein, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Elvis Costello, Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. Moondog also hung out with writers like Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and comedian Lenny Bruce. His music has been covered by artists like Janis Joplin and Julie Andrews.
Frank Zappa liked Moondog's "dada clockwork".