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

One of my favorite rock advertisements has to be this ad for The Who’sThe Kids Are Alrightrockumentary film double album released in June of 1979.  The ad features Pete Townshend about to smash his Gibson Les Paul guitar with the classic caption:

This Guitar Has Seconds To Live.

This Guitar Has Seconds To Live Pete Townshend The Who Ad Concert Location

I did some research and found the details behind the famous photo.  The photo was taken at The Who’s November 7, 1973 concert at the Newcastle Odeon Cinema.

The Who This Guitar Has Twenty Seconds To Live Newcastle Odeon

Townshend smashed the 1973 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul Custom thirty minutes into the concert after it suffered damage when he threw it into the air and failed to catch it cleanly. Here is another photo taken just before the famous ad photo.

Pete Townshend Newcastle Odeon November 1973 This Guitar Has twenty seconds to live

This is a photo taken right after the “Money Shot” and moments before the guitar is destroyed forever.

Pete Townshend The Who This Guitar Has Seconds To Live Ad

The smashed guitar is now owned by the Hard Rock Cafe. The plaque next to Pete’s guitar read as follows:

This Gibson Les Paul was smashed in concert by Pete Townshend at the Newcastle Odeon, November 7, 1973. Approximately 30mins into the show, it appears that Pete threw the guitar into the air as part of the stage act, but was unable to catch it on its descent and the guitar suffered some damage. Because of this, Pete proceeded to demolish the guitar to the point that you now see.

Pete Townshend Smashed Guitar This Guitar Has Seconds To Live

I think it is funny that a Pete Townshend smashed guitar is more valuable then a working one. Go figure…

The Who “The Kids Are Alright” Photo Location


  1. indiefab says:

    Here's a view from my desk at home.

    Its the New Musical Express, July 14th 1979, page 21. Its an ad mag from England. I got the entire booklet for $15 on eBay a couple years ago from a guy in England. From what I've seen, original copies are very rare. Its my favorite piece of memorabilia.

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