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The Day Peter Frampton Came Alive

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Frampton Comes Alive

By the summer of 1975, Peter Frampton was four studio albums into his solo career. Seven years had passed since, at 18, he was famously named by Rave magazine as the “Face of ’68,” towards the end of his first phase of pop success as a member of The Herd.

Widely respected throughout the industry as a singer, songwriter and especially as a guitarist, Frampton could call on the likes of Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and sidemen such as Klaus Voorman, Andy Bown, Rick Wills and Nicky Hopkins to contribute to his records, from 1972’s Wind Of Change onwards. He toured extensively, and the albums routinely made the bottom half of Billboard’s top 200 chart. Little did he know what was coming next. It all began to come together on 13 June 1975 at a San Francisco concert, and culminated in an epic run at No. 1 that began the following 10 April.

That warm summer, Frampton was on the road, touring the A&M album he’d released in March that year, simply called Frampton. Produced by the guitarist with Chris Kimsey, it included the studio versions of ‘Baby, I Love Your Way’ and ‘Show Me The Way,’ the latter featuring a distinctive and then-innovative talkbox effect on Peter’s voice that would become one of his trademarks.

On 13 June, Frampton and his band played at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. “We owned the airwaves in San Francisco,” he said in 2003. “After the Frampton record I could do no wrong there, and this was my first time headlining.

“Well, as soon as we walked on the stage, there’s like 7,500 people out there and I was like ‘Oh my God.’ And I think it gave us such a kick up the arse, we did this show that’s one where you walk off and go ‘Oh, wish we’d recorded that’ – well, we did. So it was just very special.”

Along with further shows at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, California, the Island Music Center in Commack, New York, and the State University of New York campus in Plattsburgh, New York, these were the recordings that made up one of the most successful live albums of all time, Frampton Comes Alive.

The double album was released in the US on 16 January 1976, making a tentative first chart appearance at No. 191 on the Billboard 200 two weeks later. Fuelled by ‘Show Me The Way,’ which became a radio smash and climbed into the top ten in the US, UK and beyond, the album rose relentlessly. By early April, sensationally, the English guitarist found himself at No, 1, as Frampton Comes Alive wrested the top spot from the EaglesGreatest Hits 1971-1975 compilation to spend a total of ten weeks at the summit, flip-flopping at the top with WingsAt The Speed Of Sound.

That same week, Comes Alive won its first platinum certification in America for one million shipments. By June, Frampton had another hit single from the album on his hands with ‘Baby, I Love Your Way’; by September, another still with ‘Do You Feel Like We Do.’

Frampton recalled that when the album was released, “we thought, this might be a gold record, 500,000. And of course it virtually did that in the first two weeks. Within six weeks, I think, it was No. 1, and it went 1-2-1-2 all summer, it was unbelievable.”

Chris Welch in Melody Maker wrote that the album ”marks the evolution of Peter Frampton into a major rock figure, armed with years of experience.” Comes Alive became America’s bestselling album of 1976, and it never stopped selling. In the summer of 2011, the RIAA certified it eight-times platinum, and worldwide sales stand have been reported at twice that total.

Frampton would never scale quite such dizzy sales heights again, but in the summer of 1977, he was ready with his next studio album, I’m In You, which spent a month at No. 2 in the US, the title track lead single also hitting the runner-up spot on the Hot 100. From that historic 1975 night in San Francisco onwards, Peter Frampton’s career had new distinction, and a multi-platinum glow just over the horizon.

Purchase Frampton Comes Alive here.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. roger codger

    June 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I saw u twice peter,once in Cleveland with bob segar and others,once in Columbus!

    • Bridgette Halloran

      June 13, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      I was there as well. Did not like it at all when Bob Segar stopped the police from holding the crowd back. We nearly got trampled up front. Never liked Bob Segar after that! Now Frampton? He played his ass off!! Went to the concert specifically to see Frampton.

  2. Davee Bryan

    June 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Nice read.

    Great record.

  3. Mary Salzbrun

    June 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    You were awesome then, as you are now !!! My little sister (Cheri) had you plastered all over her bedroom !!! She absolutely swore she would meet you someday and you would fall madly in love with each other and never part !! LOL You were such a good influence on all of us kids. Thank You for all us !!

  4. Kathryn Kirchner

    June 13, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Frampton Comes Alive is one of my all time favorite albums!!

  5. Sergio Bello

    June 13, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Aprendi muito ouvindo esse LP.Hj sou musico profissional.
    Muito do meu trabalho,apesar de super brasileiro,tem muito do que aprendi nesse disco.
    Legal.

  6. Don Hilts

    June 13, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I was there in Plattsburgh NY !!!! Thanks for making me feel OLD !!! Glad to see you are still Rocking it !!! Mane a return to Plattsburgh for a reunion tour ???? Thanks for all the years !!!! Don and Ronda Hilts !!!!!

  7. Cindy

    June 13, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Artists and music like this just don’t happen any more…wonderful wonderful memories!

  8. Peter M Reaux II

    June 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This LP was my Christmas 76′ present Still Blessed.
    Thank You Peter,
    Peter

  9. Steve Duchaine

    June 14, 2014 at 12:54 am

    Hi Peter, i was at the Hartford Conn. July 1 1976 , i was 13 first concert, never forget, i was also last year when you came to Woodstock en beauce(quebec)
    Now i ply your song on rock band
    Take care

  10. Julia Kirkman

    June 14, 2014 at 3:55 am

    During all this touring, I had the absolute privilege of being able to hear and see Peter Frampton in concert in Fresno CA. That concert is one of my all-time favorite concerts I still love his amazing voice and guitar!

  11. Jack Trylesinski

    June 14, 2014 at 8:38 am

    That was my Best album of my youth. I was only 15 years and I dance IT in the new year party: BABY I LOVE YOUR WAY. I will never for get That great times. This one of The Best albums Ever released in the story of rock’n roll.

  12. Edson Vieir@

    June 14, 2014 at 9:29 am

    SuperUltraHiperMegaFrampton@.

  13. Diane Howe

    June 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Great Album and lovely man. Have been lucky enough to perform Frampton Comes Alive twice in Manchester uk. One of the best albums ever made, and still as good today as it ever was.

  14. Ted Burrell

    June 14, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Peter came alive, not apart in 1975 as some other “too much too soon” artists did in the 1970s. He handled fame, success and accolades well since going solo then. I was in elementary school then, and constantly heard these songs from car and home radios during the commute.

  15. Rickey F. Tanada

    June 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I am one of your fans that have seen you play live…starting with the Mc Callum theater way back 2006 and have seen you in other venues here in Los Angeles. I am proud that I have your albums to keep. More power to you Mr. Frampton. God Bless.

  16. Tim Shirley

    June 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Peter Frampton. Comes Alive. The best album I’ve heard. So many memories of growing up and the decades after too. It’s like an old friend, the handful of friends and siblings a guy has that he can count on. Your album is kinda like that, it brings me back to those days but also to friends far away, Brings em closer for abit,

    If you’re ever close to Salmon Beach, BC, stop on by and visit us, I think I’m in the Comox phone book.

  17. Lyn Sledge

    July 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    My parents turned me on to PF, and it was love at first listen! Frampton Comes Alive is a must!

  18. Mike

    June 14, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I still recall the night i heard ‘Do you Feel…” from the album with one of my best buddies of the time-we were blown away and of course that album never left the turntable for months.

  19. Ken Stock

    June 14, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I’ve had this album in every format possible , from record ,8track cassette, cd digital. since it released. By far at the top of my fav list. Well done Peter!!!

  20. Carlos

    June 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Saw him twice live in recent times and happy to report, he’s lost none of his stage presence and playing ability. His voice still sounds as great now as it did then. As for “Comes Alive” …. be hard pushed to find a better live album.

  21. Mick

    April 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    To bad you don’t mention the band that were on the album and also did concerts with you for that album ,Bad on you they were a big part of that album .

  22. philip fox

    April 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Never let this album out of my collection , it was my fav live album of 70s

  23. alexandrablablabla

    April 12, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Yo fui al concierto en el poliedro jaja

  24. Hansman

    June 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Saw you in Philly at the old JFK, with Yes, Gary Wright, the Pusette Dart band. Im thinking 1975 -76?
    You had a special guest listed on the bill. Rumors were flying. Maybe Led Zepplin, etc, etc. It turned out to be the Mummers. The crowd went nuts tossing food and drinks at them. They ran off the stage!
    Further on in the show by the time Yes came out to play the temparature dropped to a nightime chill after a scorching hot day. So being in philly, everyone decided to light the benches on fire. People, people please DO NOT LIGHT ANY FIRES came over the loudspeaker.
    Great show man, from that point on everyone ran out and bought Frampton comes alive.
    You absolutely stole the show Peter.
    Thanks

  25. Greg Woods

    June 13, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Saw your show in ’75 at the capital center in Landover Maryland with Gary Wright and Foghat ….. it was definitely a night to remember !!

  26. MN

    June 13, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    yes, great album. It really spawned interest in Peter’s older stuff and AOR stations like Y97 in NYC started playing a lot of the Frampton album as well which was recorded about a year before Comes Alive. Hearing deep cuts like Fanfare on the radio was very cool.

  27. Ken Underhill

    June 14, 2017 at 2:25 am

    I saw Peter twice in the white hot heyday of FCA, then again just a few years ago. That album was the soundtrack for millions of young people coming of age, and it endured as such for over two years. We air guitared to these songs, made out in our cars with its ballads in the background, dreamed we were him on stage. This man is a true gentleman and a Troubadour for the ages.

  28. Jim Porson

    November 12, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Loved Peter Frampton even more after Humble Pie.Seen him 1x or 2x a year since 73

  29. Laurie Lawroski

    January 16, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Saw you with Gary Wright and yes at goood ole JFK in Philly i think 1976

  30. Greg Cira

    January 19, 2018 at 12:44 am

    I literally wore out two of Frampton Comes Alive albums learning to play every lick on guitar. I’m sure I’m not the only one to buy more than one copy. Not to mention the cassette tapes too.

  31. Jim Porson

    February 6, 2018 at 12:02 am

    I have seen (You)Peter everywhere.40 times My all time fav.

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