First band to destroy their instruments on stage
The Who
United Kingdom (Harrow)
The Who (UK) became the first rock band to perfect the art of destroying instruments as part of their energetic live shows in the mid-1960s. Guitarist Pete Townshend kicked off the crowd-pleasing ritual during a performance at The Railway Tavern in Harrow, London, in 1964 when he “finished off” his Rickenbacker after accidentally breaking the neck of the guitar on the venue’s low ceiling, an event Rolling Stone magazine later included in their “50 moments that changed the history of rock ‘n’ roll”. Drummer Keith Moon also became a renowned instrument-slayer, most notably in 1967 when he detonated a kit loaded with explosives at the conclusion of The Who’s performance of “My Generation” on the US TV variety show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The resulting blast embedded cymbal shrapnel in Moon’s arm, singed Townshend’s hair and is reported to have contributed to the guitarist’s long-term hearing impairment.