Early years 
In 1956, on the Lawrence Welk Show, a zoot-suited performer billed as "Rockin' Rocky Rockwell" did a mocking rendition of Elvis Presley's hit song "Hound Dog." At the conclusion of the song, he smashed an acoustic guitar to smithereens over his knee. Ira Louvin was famous for smashing mandolins that he deemed out-of-tune.
In the mid 1960s, guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who was the first guitar-smashing rock artist. Rolling Stone magazine included his smashing of a Rickenbacker guitar at the Railway Hotel in September 1964 in their list of the "50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock & Roll". A student of Gustav Metzger, Townshend saw his guitar smashing as a kind of auto-destructive art.
Keith Moon, The Who's drummer, was also known for destroying his drum set. The most spectacular episode of this occurred during The Who's debut on U.S. television on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. Moon overloaded his bass drum with explosive charges which were detonated during the finale of the song, "My Generation." The explosion caused guest Bette Davis to faint, set Pete Townshend's hair on fire and, according to legend, contributed to his later partial deafness and tinnitus. Moon was also injured in the explosion when shrapnel from the cymbals cut his arm. VH1 later placed this event at number ten on their list of the twenty Greatest Rock and Roll Moments on Television.
Jeff Beck, then a member of the Yardbirds, reluctantly destroyed a guitar in the 1966 film Blowup after being told to emulate The Who by director Michelangelo Antonioni. Jimi Hendrix is also famous for destroying his guitars and amps. He famously burned two guitars at three shows, most notably the Monterey Pop Festival.
Instrument destruction has also featured in other musical genres. Towards the end of Peter Maxwell Davies's monodrama Eight Songs for a Mad King, first performed in 1969, the vocalist seizes the violin from one of the musicians and smashes it.
Later instrument destruction 
When on tour, "Weird Al" Yankovic frequently performs an acoustic ballad parody, "You Don't Love Me Anymore", holding a guitar, but never actually playing it. At the song's conclusion, he smashes the guitar, emulating the conclusion to the song's original music video.
In 2012, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day destroyed his guitar at the end of a live performance of iHeartRadio music festival in Las Vegas as a sign of outburst of not given enough time for his performance. 
See also 
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (December 2011)|
- Rockin' Rocky Rockwell's performance
- Gardner, Lee. City Paper
- Rock and Roll: A Social History
- The Marquee Club
- The Moments
- The Who, Smothers Brothers, 1967
- Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of The Who
- Hendrix's burnt guitar for sale
- The Ax Murders
- Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's smashed guitar sold for $100,000
- "Matthew Bellamy – MuseWiki: Supermassive wiki for the band Muse". Musewiki.org. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
- A.V. Club Interview of Win Butler
- Gladwell, Amy (2012-09-23). "Newsbeat - Green Day lead singer smashes guitar on stage in Vegas". BBC. Retrieved 2013-02-02.