The Rock And Roll Legend Says It’s The Only One Of Its Kind
If anyone doesn’t know that name or claims they haven’t heard of The Who, we would bet serious money that they’ve at least heard one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees songs.
Pete Townshend, the legendary guitarist of The Who, has a well renowned reputation as having been a great live performer. He brought a fantastic energy to his performances, showcasing his patented windmill arm guitar strum and his soaring leaps.
Townshend also developed a reputation for smashing his guitar at the end of his shows, which became somewhat of a calling card.
Legend has it the guitar smashing bit came about by accident. Pete unintentionally cracked the headstock of his guitar on a low ceiling in a show in 1964. Expecting the crowd to appreciate that he had just broken his guitar, Townshend says he was a little angry when the crowd instead had no reaction.
Wanting to have what he called a “precious event” noticed, he proceeded to make a larger spectacle of it by completely smashing his guitar all over the stage and picking up his spare guitar as if it was his plan all along.
Fans attending future shows expected Pete to destroy his guitar again, and the rest is history.
Pete Townshend about to smash a Les Paul Custom in 1973
During the 1989 The Kids Are Alright reunion tour, Townshend smashed one of his Rickenbacker 360/12V64 Fireglo guitars. His guitar technician had the presence of mind to collect the pieces and have it mounted for a display. According to Townshend it was the first Rickenbacker he’d smashed in 24 years, and the only one to survive.
The mounted smashed guitar was recently sold at an auction on 12/9/15 at Bonhams in London for £52,500, which converts to about $76,510 USD.
[Townshend] said: ‘In the first years of work with The Who in 1964 and 1965 I smashed about seven Rickenbackers, but never another until 1989, and the one offered here is the only one to survive, even in pieces.’
Pete Townshends Auctioned Smashed Rickenbacker Guitar
Paying over $76,000 for a smashed guitar might sound a little bit absurd, but whoever walked away with it is undoubtedly buying a huge piece of rock and roll history.
And talk about a hell of a conversational piece.