Peter Frampton’s long career is highlighted by one extremely bright spot – 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive!. The double album launched multiple hit singles and sold over 8 million copies. Frampton was not a one hit wonder. He just had one album that eclipsed his many other accomplishments.

Teaching himself to play a banjolele he found in his attic at seven, Frampton began formal music training at eight. As a teen he had a hit single in the UK with the Herd and was named “The Face of 1968” by teen magazine Rave. At 18 he was playing in Humble Pie and doing session work. Nashville pedal steel player Pete Drake introduced Frampton to the talk box, a device that would play heavily in the success of Frampton Comes Alive!.

Frampton began his solo career in 1971 after leaving Humble Pie and recorded three studio albums. Ringo Starr and Billy Preston played on the records and many of the songs that would appear on the live album were on these records – but they failed to generate much interest. Frampton replaced his band before a US tour that included a stop at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco where the live album was recorded. The album featured a shirtless Frampton, a photo he later regretted for its’ contribution to the impression that he was not a serious artist.

No following albums came close to the sales of his live record but Frampton continued to have occasional hits through the mid 80s. Frampton’s sole Grammy came in 2006 for his instrumental album Fingerprints. In 2019 he announced his retirement from touring, revealing that he suffers from inclusion body myositis (IBM), a progressive muscle disorder. His most recent album came this year with Frampton Forgets the Words, recorded in 2019 in an effort to work before his disease makes it impossible.

Photo Credit: Gibson