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Long Beach, 1974

Once in a while we get letters from our readers with a cool story like this:

Pickup and stub from Deep Purple 1974; photo: Brad Peatross

Just a little memory of mine:

Pictured is a guitar pickup and ticket stub from Deep Purple concert at Long Beach Arena, California 11/20/1974. My parents let me ditch school to stand in line all day at the Long Beach arena for this show. I was second row center standing when Blackmore threw the destroyed guitar just to the right of me. I dove in, gotta handful of stuff and janked. I got this souvenir and a cut up hand.

Question: any idea what kind guitar was destroyed? Obviously a Fender. Was he just destroying whatever he played or did he have new extras just to smash?

I thought you might enjoy, feel free to share.

Brad Peatross

20 Comments to “Long Beach, 1974”:

  1. 1
    MrPtheDPfan says:

    When he played with Rainbow in the later years ,he would come from backstage with what looked like the guitar he had played the whole set .It had to be a cheaper copy .After the smash up , he would step behind the amps and come out blazing on the real white Strat . He made it look good .The video I have of what I think is the same tour has the stunt on it , but the editing , or how they did it that night for the camera , wasn’t quite as slick on the changeover .Ritchie needs to put a R&R band together and come out to kill again !

  2. 2
    Bruce Pedersen says:

    Ritchie usually carried a few Fender Squire guitars for destroying.

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    I remember reading somewhere years ago that the destroyed Stratocasters were factory rejects of some sort. Unlike Townshend with his destruction of genuine Gibson Les Pauls & Hendrix also maybe with his occasional antics, Blackmore didn’t mess with the real Stratocaster’s apparently! But I could be wrong on that. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Hard Rock Pete says:

    Ritchie used to smash up the cheaper guitars, and AFAIK he used to smash up Squiers. He never, at least in later years, smashed up anything playable 🙂 Btw, I was at the last concert where Blackers smashed up a guitar…. Oslo 15.11.1993! That was the last time, comfirmed by his personal assistant English Rob, that he smashed up a guitar. I have the whole show on DVD, and it’s way beyond BLOODY AMAZING!!!

  5. 5
    T says:

    Blackmore also used a plethora of cheap Japanese Strat copies. Guitars that “survived” would be glued back together again. What you have could be anything from a real Fender pick-up to a generic brand. Check to see if there are codes on the back of the pick-up and what color the bobbin bottom is.

    As far as I am concerned, it does not matter what it is. It came from a guitar Blackmore played. Congratulations to you for getting your hands on a piece of history!

  6. 6
    Knut Arne Singstad says:

    No doubt wath it is. A bridge microphone and the five way switch from a genuine Strat.

  7. 7
    Max says:

    As far as I know Ritchie`s guitars were not just as you would buy them. Most guitarists I guess change them around a bit, used that kind of strings, this kind of pickups etc and treasure their instruments. Ritchie used to take cheap models on tour I think especially to smash them.

  8. 8
    Sergio Martin Diaz says:

    ¡genios siempres!

  9. 9
    Emmanuel Raj says:

    Ritchie simply super

  10. 10
    Chip says:

    Blackmore’s guitar destructions were generally choreographed…not quite the same thing….

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    Every time I watch the California Jam, I have a laugh at the crowd wrestling with each other over the ‘strat’ that Blackmore throws into the crowd. I always wonder how anyone could get out of that crowd, to safety, with a decent piece of the guitar!
    To manage leaving a concert with a few ‘discrete’ smaller pieces is a good thing indeed! I would imagine a lot easier to hide than the larger body sections of the guitar & get out of there safely! Cheers.

  12. 12
    Marcus Streets says:

    1974 could not be a Squier or even a Tokai, unless Ritchie is a Time lord as well as a Guitar God. HJe may have used those later.

    Perhaps a Greco – which became Fender Japan – or some other clone.

    According to Wikipedia in 1979 a Fender was $495 – which is expensive for a teenager.

    $7.50 seems a lot for a single concert.
    A quick google shows tickets for DP plus Elf from that May being £2 – at a smaller venue.

    So you could not afford a new guitar to smash for a UK concert, but could for a US one.

  13. 13
    Chris Blackmore says:

    @11…. True story.

    I attended a Rainbow concert at the Orange Show Pavillion in San Bernardino, California in… I’m guessing 1977. Montrose opened with Sammy Hagar. Standing room only in front of the stage so I took stage left, or audience right because that, of course, is where TMIB does his thing. Of note, I am about 4 persons deep in the throng and directly in front of me was a guy in a wheelchair. Rock on! There was no ADA back then, so this guy was a super trooper.

    Anyway, towards the end of the concert, Blackmore broke up a Strat and did his usual thing. The way the guitar broke, the head snapped off the neck and the neck snapped off the body, so Ritchie threw the neck out in the crowd and I stepped on the wheel of the wheelchair and jumped 3 feet above the crowd… catching the neck like you see in the movies.

    Slow motion, the neck spinning in the air, me above the crowd, no one even near the neck but me… and I grabbed it… strong…. VICTORY WAS MINE! …… for about a millisecond…. because it was then I was grabbed on all sides and just yanked to the ground, everyone else pulling and grabbing on the piece of magic hardwood that was ALL MINE just seconds ago.

    I had two hands hands around the maple, squeezing as hard as I could, laying on my back on the concrete floor of the arena. People were kicking and ripping at my fingers and I was starting to get stomped on. And my hands were bleeding from the frets. ( I now have a Fender Strat Ritchie Blackmore model with the scalloped frets, and they are sharp! ). I had to give up the fight for my own safety. I let go and the pack oh Hyenas meandered away with MY souvenir. Who ended up getting it may still be unsolved. As the concert ended, some 20 minutes later, there was still a mob of die hards pounding on each other for a little piece of rock and roll.

    So, every time I see that scene from the end of Cal Jam as the feeding frenzy devours another Strat, a little bit of me remembers when the neck was mine…

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    Chris Blackmore@13- What a pity you didn’t end up with something for all the hard work & hassle you put in. That is a shame indeed!
    It really shows a negative side to human nature, when people treat other people with no respect. They should have let you have what was yours, but alas, the feral side to human beings always seems to come to the fore when greed & selfishness are there! Thanks for the story.
    At the Heaven & Hell gig here in Brisbane back in 2007, Iommi threw a handful of picks into the crowd where we were standing. People just went berserk pushing & shoving etc! My partner looked down on the floor & there were 2 picks, she picked them up & quickly handed them to me! A lot easier to get out of there with 2 guitar picks though, compared to what you had to do! Cheers.

  15. 15
    Leon Rodziewicz says:

    I’m originally from Sheffield and spent a lot of time round at Simon Robinson’s place (his younger brother is a good friend) talking and listening to all things Purple and he said that Ritchie got supplied with factory rejects by Fender for the purpose of giving them a spectacular send off.

    Also seem to recall Ritchie saying the same in a Radio 1 interview on the Friday Night Rock Show c 1980 with the late great Tommy Vance.

    Of course the theme music to that show strangely enough was Steve Morse’s “Take It Off The Top”.

  16. 16
    Eddie6string says:

    Rainbow Gig: New Bingley Hall Staffordshire England UK.
    Date: Not sure??
    Managed to grab a reasonable quality Fender (Made by Schaller I believe?) Guitar bridge, that was later fitted to Strat copy. I did get to perform the song Burn with it at/on some stage or other. Then “Someone stole my guitar” became the tune I should have played!
    Heady days!
    If the accountants were as prolific in influence then, as they are today, Executive tickets for ‘Meet & Greet’ would include signed fragments of broken guitars – who would break them & then fake Ritchie’s Autograph, I’ve no idea? Whether Mr B would shake hands for a fee, I doubt it?

  17. 17
    Dave Alder says:

    @ Hard Rock Pete…

    FFS man… the whole gig on dvd??? You should sell this to the masses… (i.e, me…)
    You would make a fortune…

  18. 18
    Guy says:

    I was at the show ..I saw the guitar get launched from the stage through the fog! Then a wave of people started heading towards me.I hopped on top of the Strat and covered it up with my body and got down low just long enough to take a good look at the Natural finish and all in tact Fender Stratocaster but for a missing head stock…Then I started getting pounded so I grabbed a volume knob and it took off out of my hands where it went up to the front about 30 ft away and some lucky young guy grabbed by security and pulled up onto the stage finally got the guitar

  19. 19
    Buck says:

    I was in the 4th row center at a Deep Purple concert in Chicago around 1974-1975 and Ritchie Blackmore busted up a Strat and tossed the neck and body into the crowd. I was able to catch the body as it flew overhead. It was a tug of war and I won. I still have it. No one tried to take it from me, maybe because I’m 6’6” tal and weighed around 275-280 lbs. at the time. Tried to get backstage afterwards to get it autographed but security denied me access. It’s a prized possession. Hooray for me, right?!?!

  20. 20
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @19, the Buck stops here, right?! 😁 🎸

    @4 & @17…. This:

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