’Frampton Comes Alive’: Peter Frampton’s Live Epiphany
‘Frampton Comes Alive’ became the multi-platinum sensation of 1976 and produced three major hits in ‘Show Me The Way,’ ‘Baby I Love Your Way,’ and ‘Do You Feel Like We Do.’
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.
Respected industry-wide 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 June 13, 1975 at a San Francisco concert, and culminated in an epic run at No.1 after he released the historic live album Frampton Comes Alive! on January 16, 1976.
That hot 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 song featured a distinctive and then-innovative talkbox effect on Peter’s voice that would become one of his trademarks.
On that June night, 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.
Wish we’d recorded it…
“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 made a tentative first chart appearance at No.191 on the Billboard chart two weeks later. Fueled by “Show Me The Way,” which became a radio smash and climbed into the Top 10 in the US, UK, and beyond, the album rose relentlessly. On April 10, sensationally, the English guitarist found himself at No.1. Frampton Comes Alive wrested the top spot from the Eagles’ Greatest Hits 1971-1975 compilation to spend a total of ten weeks at the summit, flip-flopping at the top with Wings’ At The Speed Of Sound.
The first million
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,” which peaked at No.10 on the Hot 100 charts of November 13 and 20.
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.”
The evolution of Peter Frampton
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.
Listen to the best of Peter Frampton on Apple Music and Spotify.
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. That 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 was just over the horizon.
Buy or stream Frampton Comes Alive.
June 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm
I saw u twice peter,once in Cleveland with bob segar and others,once in Columbus!
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.
June 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm
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 !!
June 13, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Frampton Comes Alive is one of my all time favorite albums!!
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.
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 !!!!!
June 13, 2014 at 11:37 pm
Artists and music like this just don’t happen any more…wonderful wonderful memories!
Peter M Reaux II
June 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm
This LP was my Christmas 76′ present Still Blessed.
Thank You Peter,
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
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!
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.
June 14, 2014 at 9:29 am
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
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.
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 .
April 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm
Never let this album out of my collection , it was my fav live album of 70s
April 12, 2017 at 2:18 am
Yo fui al concierto en el poliedro jaja
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.
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 !!
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.
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.
November 12, 2017 at 1:12 am
Loved Peter Frampton even more after Humble Pie.Seen him 1x or 2x a year since 73
January 16, 2018 at 6:28 pm
Saw you with Gary Wright and yes at goood ole JFK in Philly i think 1976
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.
February 6, 2018 at 12:02 am
I have seen (You)Peter everywhere.40 times My all time fav.
April 10, 2019 at 5:55 pm
Good article except there is no Island Music Center in Commack. It was called The Long Island Arena, which us Long Islanders knew well. Here is the reference, in hopes that the editor of the article will make this correction. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Arena
April 10, 2019 at 6:24 pm
In 1976 I was 13. “Comes Alive” is an anthem of my youth. When I hear it now some 40+ years later it takes me back to those hot summer days of a carefree, hopeful, innocent days of life. I can actually feel it! Rock on Peter!
March 27, 2020 at 5:33 pm
Winterland. Mic drop.
April 10, 2020 at 9:57 am
From memory the introduction on Frampton Comes Alive went something like Ladies and Gentleman
Mr Peter Frampton
Went through 3 cassette tapes way back then
June 6, 2020 at 4:50 am
I had the pleasure of being upfront at Winterland that night he recorded for the Comes Alive album. It was so awesome to be in that crowd that night when he pulled out the talk box we went apes**t crazy. Every time I hear that album and I hear Peter say Ello San Francisco, I get waves of joy and rushes of flashbacks of the fun we had that night. Then there is the video of Oakland coliseum with Trower, Fleetwood mac, Dave mason and Gary Wright and of course, Peter singing do you feel. I just wish we had HD camera phones back then.
March 19, 2023 at 5:35 pm
Great story. I had tickets to see Ten Years After at the LI arena and on the board outside the arena it said: ‘Ten Years After with Special Guest Peter Frampton’. I thought: “cool I think I know who he is, should be interesting”. I did not realize I was going to be witness to rock and roll history. Frampton came on and absolutely blew us all away. He was so good, when Ten Years After came on, there was no way the group could come close to matching Frampton. Ten Years After was booed for much of their session.
Anyone who left that night knew we had witnessed something very special. Then Frampton Comes Alive came out and the world embraced the album perhaps unlike any other live album ever made.