The History of Guitar Smashing in Rock ‘n’ Roll
Get ready to rock because we are going through the history of guitar smashing! Who was the first rocker to smash a guitar? And how did destroying instruments onstage become a rock 'n' roll rite of passage in the first place?
You may be surprised to learn the history of smashing guitars goes back to the early days of rock — indeed, not long after mass-produced electric guitars first became affordable to many.
Of course, there are a handful of artists whose spectacular displays of onstage instrument destruction are now the stuff of legend. And these particular performers — The Who's Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain — are often first in mind when one thinks of smashing guitars.
Smashing Guitars Is Rock History
But it goes even deeper than that. Toward the bottom of this page, see a history of guitar smashing compiled by Loudwire that aims to cover all the bases of this glorious and cathartic sacrifice to the rock gods. After all, what could be more special to a rock star than their guitar?
READ MORE: 16 Most Expensive Guitars of All Time
The aspect and attitude of guitar smashing even extends beyond just rock — both in its history and its continued popularity. Did you know that the country star Garth Brooks has smashed a guitar onstage? How about the "Piano Man" himself, Billy Joel, who has also raged on his stage equipment?
Assuredly though, it's an activity that has represented rock 'n' roll for almost 70 years. Keep scrolling down to learn all about the history of guitar smashing.
Note: While we can't include everyone who's ever smashed equipment onstage, we feel the following list hits the highs and gives a good overview of the practice's tradition and popularity.