One of rock’s most iconic images is that of Pete Townshend of The Who, his guitar raised above his head like an axe, seconds away from smashing into the stage into pieces.
Why does Pete Townshend smash his guitar at the end of a concert?
Pete’s first victim was a 1964 Rickenbacker Rose Morris. At a concert at The Railway Tavern in the band’s early days, Pete accidentally cracked the headstock of his guitar on the bar’s low ceiling. He was angry, and smashed the rest of the guitar in disgust.
The next night, the fans were waiting for another guitar to be smashed.
Pete Townshend wasn’t wealthy enough in those days to smash a guitar every night, but within a year or two he would be. And his fans would be waiting for the ritual.
There have been many, many guitars smashed over the years. You can read all about each destroyed guitar here.
At first it was an accident.
Then it became a spectacle.
Now it is a symbol.
Over the course of the band’s 50+ years together, it has become symbolic with an incredible concert. Pete Townshend smashing his guitar is a way of telling the audience that he has played the life – literally – out of that guitar. Pete leaves behind those shards of metal and wood as a message that he’s given you all that he, and the poor guitar, can possibly give.
If you’ve seen Pete Townshend smash his guitar, chances are good you’ve seen someone give everything that they have to their fans.
That’s customer service.
In business, you will likely only ever get one chance to perform for your fans/customers. Will you give them all that you have to give? Will you smash your guitar, over and over, and walk off the stage knowing that you could not possibly have given your customer any more?
Customers expect great service today. The bar has never been higher.
If you aren’t smashing your guitar before you leave work at the end of the day, maybe you need to think about how passionately you serve your fans.
And now, enjoy a collection of smashed guitars courtesy of Pete Townshend (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkndvF5B41w)
Oh and by the way, the guitar in the image above was destroyed on November 7, 1973 at a show at the Odeon Cinema in Newcastle, England.
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