HAPPY BIRTHDAY PETER FRAMPTON! by Michael Mackey, Host of Long Island Morning Edition

Apr 21, 2016

This week our WPPB TBT celebrates British rock musician, singer, songwriter, producer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Peter Frampton. Born in England on April 22, 1950, Frampton proved a precocious musical talent teaching himself to play the guitar at age 7; and within a few years mastering complex jazz, blues, and rock riffs. By age 16 P.F. was the lead guitarist and singer for a popular U.K. group The Herd. The teen magazine RAVE named Frampton "The Face of 1968." In early '69, still only 18, he and Steve Marriott formed Humble Pie. Yet even though their "super group" seemed to be on the rise in 1971, Frampton decided to leave Humble Pie and pursue a solo career. 

Then in 1976, after four years of lukewarm commercial success, Peter Frampton's career suddenly became a white hot, born again, "I Wanna Go to the Sun" international phenomenon. Released on January 6, 1976 in the U.S. - 6 weeks later in the U.K. - the L.P. Frampton Comes Alive! would advance to number one on the Billboard 200 by April and remain in the top spot for a total of 10 weeks. Voted "Album of the year" in the 1976 Rolling Stone readers poll, Frampton's summer of '76 smash was still No. 14 on Billboard's 1977 year-end album chart.  With sales of six million copies - 16 million worldwide - it became the largest selling double live album of its time. In 2015, Rolling Stone placed Frampton Comes Alive! at 41 on its 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time list.

While Frampton would never again sell records at super star volume, in the 21st century he has scored artistic acclaim from his 2006 instrumental album, Fingerprints, which won a Grammy, and from a series of sold-out tours throughout Europe and North America. This June he is scheduled to appear on Long Island with Lynyrd Skynyrd at Jones Beach Theater. {The "Show Me the Way" track from Frampton Comes Alive! was recorded at Commack Arena in 1975.} And award-winning Canadian writer Zachary Stockill reports on popmatters.com that P.F.'s 2016 release Acoustic Classics, "represents Frampton revisiting and reinventing his back catalogue, featuring acoustic renditions of many of his biggest hits. Frampton in fine voice throughout Acoustic Classics brings a hard-won maturity and new sensitivity to classic rock staples such as "Show Me the Way" and "Do You Feel Like I Do”. 

In a recent PopMatters interview Stockill asks Frampton if he ever gets sick of talking about or singing the songs from his 40 year old signature work?  

"No, I don’t mind talking about it, because I’m very proud of it...it’s such a great performance, great band, great songs, great solos from everybody. It was a near-perfect live record for me, for those who like my music, obviously...there were quite a few of them, so I never mind talking about it. It’s like I never mind singing my hits onstage. Because I might not choose to do them every night if I didn’t know that there was a “google-eyed” look on everyone’s face when I did that special song that means so much to them personally, you know?”

So let's throw it back to a Friday Night; December 19, 1975 Midnight Special telecast featuring one of Frampton's classic live performances and see if this special song makes you come alive!