On 17 September 1967, the Who appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was an explosive hit!
The band’s drummer, Keith Moon, was already in the habit of placing an explosive charge in one his two bass drums to detonate during Pete Townshend’s guitar-smashing at the end of each Who performance.
While the band’s performance of “My Generation” was mostly mimed, the smash-up finale was unforgettably real, thanks to Moon loading his drums with considerably more flash powder than he’d ever used before. The resulting explosion nearly blew the Who themselves off the stage, briefly blinded the TV cameras, and caused actress Bette Davis – who was booked as a guest on the same program – to faint dead away in the wings.
After miming new single I Can See For Miles, they play My Generation. As the song climaxes, Moon kicks his drums off the riser and Townshend attempts to atomise his guitar, thrusting the headstock into his amp before tossing it into the air.
And then there’s the explosion. A huge flash. The studio shakes. The camera wobbles. The set fills with smoke.
Tommy Smothers walks onto set with his acoustic guitar, ostensibly to restore some order, but the violence continues as Townshend snatches it from him and dashes it to the floor.
“Everyone was so shocked,” remembered Tommy Smothers, years later. “When Townshend came over and grabbed my guitar, I was busy just seeing where the bodies were, seeing if anyone was injured. He picked the guitar up, and people kept saying, ‘Did he really ruin your guitar? It looked so real!’ And I’d say. ‘Well it was real! I was confused as hell!'”
WATCH. NSFW because you will LOL!