The Who’s Pete Townshend Lost Most Of His Hearing After This Explosion

The Who’s performance of “My Generation” on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a defining moment in the television history after The Who unofficially became the first band to destroy their instruments on live TV.

The Who My Generation Live Smothers Brothers Explosion Pete Townshend Hearing

The instrument destruction was nothing compared to the permanent destruction to a member of the band. A stage hand, at the request of the band, had overloaded Keith Moon’s kick drum with explosives. When they were detonated, the explosion was so intense, Moon was injured by cymbal shrapnel and bandmate Pete Townshend’s hearing was permanently damaged.


Rumor has it that Townshend lost 90 percent of his hearing in his right ear after this incident as the sheer force of the explosion actually blew his hair to one side.

The Who Smothers Brothers Explosion Pete Townshend Hearing

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The aftermath…

Moon on the floor with Roger Daltrey checking up on him while Townshend still musters up enough trength to smash Tommy Smothers guitar.


Townshend later discussed his hearing loss,

“I have severe hearing damage. It’s manifested itself as tinnitus, ringing in the ears at frequencies that I play guitar. It hurts, it’s painful, and it’s frustrating.”

Pete Townshend “This Guitar Has Seconds To Live” The Who Ad

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