‘Frampton’: Peter’s Pre-‘Frampton Comes Alive’ Breakthrough
The 1975 album is a fascinating record of what was happening immediately before the English singer-guitarist’s solo career went stratospheric.
This was the album that proved to be the breakthrough for Peter Frampton in America. Frampton was released in early March 1975, just before Peter’s 25th birthday, as the fourth solo LP by the former member of the Herd and Humble Pie.
Frampton entered the US album chart on March 29 and began a steady climb until it made No.32, going on to spend over a year on the bestseller list, helped in no small part by the release of Frampton Comes Alive in January 1976. Eventually the Frampton album was certified gold by the RIAA for 500,000 shipments on September 13, 1976.
Frampton is a fascinating record of what was happening immediately before the English singer-guitarist’s solo career went stratospheric. The record features the original studio versions of the Comes Alive anthem “Show Me The Way” and the ballad “Baby I Love Your Way,” featured here in a medley with “Nassau.”
The Ronnie Lane connection
Recorded in late 1974 and early 1975 at Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, using the mobile studio owned by Ronnie Lane of the Faces. Produced by Frampton himself, along with Chris Kimsey, it featured Frampton not only on lead guitar but piano, organ, acoustic guitar, bass on “Baby I Love Your Way,” and, of course, what became his trademark talkbox effect on “Show Me The Way.”
Now very much his own boss, as a frontman, Frampton wrote every track on the album, which featured his former Herd colleague Andy Bown playing bass, with John Siomos on drums. Peter’s lyrical and melodic playing is prominent throughout, highlights including the pretty “One More Time” and reflective “The Crying Clown,” which features Poli Palmer from Family on vibes. “Penny For Your Thoughts” showed his dexterity for an acoustic instrumental.
Listen to the best of Peter Frampton on Apple Music and Spotify.
Frampton also continued Peter’s steady US chart progress since starting his solo career. 1972’s Wind Of Change had reached No.177 on the Billboard 200, after which Frampton’s Camel peaked at No. 110 in 1973. Then 1974’s Somethin’s Happening did almost as well at No. 125. Buoyed by the Comes Alive phenomenon, Frampton spent 64 weeks on the US chart.
Buy or stream Frampton.
September 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm
I remember Peter Frampton on the Mike Douglas show.
One day after school I’m watching my Mom’s program and this crazy awesome guitar player comes on & blew me away.
I was like 15.
September 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm
The music industry knows how to screw up great players put peter you turned out fine put I do know it was a hard road thanks for all the great music
September 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm
You have always been my idol and always will be, your music brings back so many great memories in my life, living in California, the birth of my daughter, and the many great people in California. I still think you are the bomb of rock and roll music. I still listen to your music faithfully. I even used to wear my hair like yours many many years ago. I still remember the Frampton look. I am going on 60 years young. Your music brings back many great memories of my ex-husband and I when we lived in California. He has now passed on. You are a great music artist. I love the synthesizer in your music. Your the bomb.
September 18, 2014 at 3:58 am
An incredible story, when ‘comes alive’ came out I only had a vague notion of who Peter Frampton was from the Humble Pie days – and then this amazing live album came down from the stratosphere and erupted, it must have been one heck of a ride.
September 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm
the first album i ever owned..my aunt gave it to me when i was about 11yo..i am now 49yo and it is and has always been the record i compare all others too..Frampton will always b the best..thanks Peter
Julie Wood Barrows
September 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm
I was 11 y.o. when I first heard “Baby I Love Your Way” on the radio. I wanted to know who was singing that song. I found an article about you in a music magazine, so I asked for and received the “Frampton” album for my 12th birthday, and basically wore it out for the next 3 months! I got your live album for Christmas, and then I saved my money and collected your first three solo albums and everything after that. I have basically been crushing on you since back then, and I turn 51 next week! ;0). (Btw I really like “Premonition”, too.)
March 29, 2016 at 6:25 pm
Good stuff Julie. Nice to see a real fan, someone who has stayed with him long after FCA. I liked Premonition too; I first saw him live on the Premonition tour. I have seen him dozens of times since, the latest being in Peachtree City, GA last summer. Will catch him in NC this summer with Greg Allman as well.
March 29, 2016 at 5:40 pm
I was a senior in high school when I heard some students in my government class talking about seeing Peter Frampton in Kalamazoo, Mi and how great his show was. This was early 1976. I remember debating whether to buy the Live album or this album…I bought the Live album. One listen and i couldn’t turn it off. Your music just moved me like no other ever had. I played that album over and over and over… I bought all your studio albums and did the same with them. Nothing has changed in all these years- I’m still playing Frampton more than all the other music combined and see you live every year. The ever-immortal Peter Frampton. There will never be another.
March 30, 2016 at 12:01 am
I lived in upstate NY in 72 and ‘Wind of Change’ was playing constantly on WCMF – I was 16 and have been playing that album for the last 44 years on vinyl, cassette, cd and now digital
All I Wanna Be Is By Your Side is one of favourite tracks of all time – great artist – fab guitar player
March 29, 2017 at 11:23 pm
Saw him in 1974 at Kutztown Univ. in PA. Fell in love. Fast forward 40 years after marriage, kids, etc. and I have seen Peter Frampton again in fact 6 times in the last 3 years. Seeing him again this year. Next to The Beatles he is my favorite musician/singer/song writer.