Sunday, October 26, 2014

Peter Frampton, The #75 Artist of the Seventies*

Peter Frampton played with the groups Humble Pie and the Herd before exploding onto the music scene in 1976.  But that transition was far from instantaneous. 

Frampton was a schoolmate of David Bowie at Bromley Technical School in England.  The two spent breaks playing Buddy Holly songs.  Frampton soon joined the band the Trubeats, then the Preachers, who were managed and produced by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones.

In 1966, Frampton joined the Herd as lead singer and guitarist.  Frampton was chosen as "The Face of 1968" by the magazine Rave.  In 1969, when he was just 18, Frampton and Steve Marriott of the Small Faces formed Humble Pie.  During this time, Frampton played guitar on sessions with Harry Nilsson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and notably on George Harrison's album All Things Must Pass in 1970.  While working with Harrison, Frampton discovered the "talk box", that would play a significant factor in his future success.

In 1972, Frampton released his first solo album Wind of Change.  The albums Frampton's Camel, Something's Happening, and the self-titled Frampton generated a following, but no major success. 

Then in 1976, Frampton recorded his concerts at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, California, as Humble Pie had been popular there.  The Frisco crowd treated him like a superstar from beginning to end, making for a magical night.  With the tape machine rolling, Frampton displayed guitar wizardry in running through his catalog, spinning the crowd into a frenzy. 
Frampton could not have picked a better place to record his live album.  On the heels of the shows, the album was mixed and polished, and Peter released Frampton Comes Alive! in 1976.  "Show Me The Way" led the way as people across the world "discovered" Frampton.  It peaked at #6 in the U.S. and #10 in the U.K.

The single "Baby, I Love Your Way" hit #12, while the album was taking off into orbit.

Most people would understand when I say that the next single, "Do You Feel Like We Do", with its incredible guitar work and featured talk box, is underrated at #10.

We are going to play five other Top Tracks* on the album that is ranked as The #55 Album of the Rock Era*, although to really appreciate what a show it was, you really need to buy the album and listen in its entirety.  This is "It's A Plain Shame". (click the "Play" icon on the top left side of the video...)

Frampton Comes Alive spurred interest in his previous albums, leading the album Frampton to go Gold.  Another great track is "All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)".

I Wanna Go to the Sun by Peter Frampton on Grooveshark
The incredible release, arguably the best live album of the Rock Era (it is definitely a "must have" for any rock music fan), has now sold eight million copies in the United States alone.  "I Want To Go To The Sun" is one of many reasons why.
Another great song from that magical night was "(I'll Give You) Money".
The classic album was a best-seller for 97 weeks, and spent 10 weeks atop the Album chart.  Perhaps the top song not released as a single is this one--"Lines On My Face".

In 1977, Frampton starred in the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  As the film did poorly, it was not good exposure.  Peter released the album I'm in You, with the title song reaching #2.

Frampton's remake of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" stalled at #18.

Although I'm in You went Platinum, it did not capitalize on the excitement generated by Frampton Comes Alive.  Peter had a near-fatal car crash in the Bahamas in 1978, which ended his time near the top of the music world.  Frampton released one more album in the decade, Where I Should Be, but the best he could do the rest of his career was #14 with "I Can't Stand It No More".

Frampton, however rebounded later in his career, not from a studio standpoint, but his live shows are still exciting and not to be missed if he performs near you.  And his musicianship has been praised with Grammy Awards in recent years.

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