Marketplace Scratch Pad

Smashing a perfectly good guitar

Scott Jagow Jul 9, 2009

I have a physical reaction when I see a broken guitar. I live by the code of songwriter John Hiatt: “There oughta to be a law, with no bail, smash a guitar and you go to jail.” I’m sure Canadian musician Dave Carroll agrees. United Airlines smashed his $3,500 Taylor, and they refused to fix it. So, he wrote a song about it.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Carroll said he and other members of Sons of Maxwell, his Halifax-based band, were changing planes at O’Hare on March 31, 2008, when another passenger exclaimed, “My God, they’re throwing guitars out there.”

They glanced out the window to see a ground worker toss a bass guitar, which survived intact. But Carroll discovered when he arrived later in Omaha that his $3,500 Taylor guitar had been damaged.

Carroll spent nine months trying to reason with United, but to no avail. But after seeing Carroll’s popular YouTube video, United has changed its tune and says it’s talking with Carroll.

There oughta be a law, with no bail,
Smash a guitar and you go to jail.
With no chance for early parole,
You don’t get out until you get some soul.

It breaks my heart to see those stars, smashing a perfectly good guitar.
I don’t know who they think they are, smashing a perfectly good guitar.

Take it away, John:

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.