During the production of the 1966 film, Blow-Up, director Michelangelo Antonioni envisioned a scene similar to that of Pete Townshend’s famous live ritual of smashing up his guitar on stage. Antonioni had even asked The Who to feature in the film. However, when they refused, in stepped The Yardbirds during Jeff Beck’s and Jimmy Page’s short tenure together in the group.
The Yardbirds’ short scene (which can be seen in the video clip below), was filmed at Elstree Studios, UK over a four-day period in September 1966.
When speaking about the band’s involvement with the project in a 1992 interview, Beck said;
“Antonioni wanted the most exciting thing we could do, so we played ‘Smokestack Lightning.’ But he didn’t like that, even though we had this incredible build up in the middle which was just pow!”
Due to issues over publishing The Yardbirds classic “Train Kept a Rolling” was reworked as “Stroll On” for the performance, and as the scene involved the destruction of an instrument Beck’s usual choice of his iconic Tele or Les Paul was swapped for a cheap, hollow-body stand-in that he was directed to smash at the song’s conclusion.