When The Who performed on U.S. television for the first time, they made their debut with a literal bang. On September 17, 1967, the band appeared on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” with a performance of their hit “My Generation.” According to History, Keith Moon was already in the habit of loading his bass drum with explosives, but for this particular performance, he packed the drum with more explosives than ever before.
The resulting explosion set off a cloud of white smoke and nearly knocked the band off the stage. It singed guitarist Pete Townshend’s hair, left Moon with shrapnel embedded in his arm, and even knocked the show off the air by obscuring the cameras. According to Rolling Stone, the explosive finale even caused fellow guest, the actor Bette Davis, to faint in the wings. It was also rumored to be a contributing factor to Townshend’s loss of hearing later in life, but his years of performing with amplified rock ‘n’ roll sound were likely more to blame.
The destructive impacts of that particular explosion did not deter Moon from continuing to play with fire. Later that year, while on tour with opening band Herd, Moon wired keyboardist Andy Bown’s keyboard with firecrackers and detonated them during Herd’s set.