The remnants of one of Pete Townshend’s smashed Fender Stratocasters is going under the hammer on April 15th via Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction in Dallas. The 1964 sonic blue Strat was demolished at the end of the Who’s December 1st, 1967 show at Commack, New York’s Long Island Arena. The guitar is estimated to sell for around $20,000 but other smashed Townsend guitars have sold nearly four times as much at auction.
According to AntiquesTradeGazette.com, “The lot includes a hand-written statement detailing the smashing of the guitar and the instrument’s history since the pieces were caught by the owner, who has held on to it for a little over 50 years. . . The instrument is accompanied by items including the two-page hand-written letter from the original owner and a ticket stub from the show.”
The images of the Who’s early career will always be dominated with Pete Townshend’s iconic guitar smashing — an instant gimmick that never failed to thrill: “Next thing I knew, I’m breaking guitars at gigs, y’know, saying, ‘I am destroying the instrument of my bourgeois child longing,’ y’know, which is I used to stand outside shops and people used to come and go ‘What a great axe!!!’ And I’d say, ‘It’s not an act, it’s . . .’ And I’d even have the guys in the band going ‘What a load of pompous pretentious drivel’ — and I’d go, ‘No, it’s auto-destructive art.”
Photo Courtesy of UMe