PETER FRAMPTON

Born 22 April, 1950, Beckenham, England

 

 

With many parallels to Steve Marriott and Jerry Shirley, in terms of the tender age at which he struck big - Peter Frampton was a professional musician at age 16, a scream teen idol at 17 and the "Face of '68" a year later.

All of this was well before he struck mega proportions with Frampton Comes Alive...which became the biggest selling double album in history - and to this day remains the biggest selling live album ever.
Oh - and in between he managed to cram in the critical and artistic high point of his career with his stint as a founding member of Humble Pie.

Peter Frampton was born in Beckenham, Kent...within striking distance of London's East End - the home of his future heros, the Small Faces, and also close to the Essex Countryside which would be the base for Humble Pie.

He first received a banjolele (a banjo shaped ukelele) at the age of seven, and started to play, influenced by Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Hank Marvin and the Beatles. He got his first payment for performing at age nine.  Does any of this sound familiar !

His dad Owen was Music Teacher at the local Secondary School, where one of his schoolmates was none other than David Bowie. (Their future careers were to cross a few times in the years ahead).

After stints with The Little Ravens and the Trubeats, his first serious group was The Preachers, who recorded Georgie Fames "Hole in My Soul" on Columbia records. The Preachers were produced and managed by Bill Wyman, whom Peter struck up a great friendship with, particularly while trawling the London Clubs. The Preachers became the Train and then Moon's Train, recording "Deed I Do" in 1967.

Peter was invited to play for the summer with The Herd, another Wyman group, before being invited to join permanently at the end of that year. They hit big in the charts with "From the Underworld", "Paradise Lost" and "I Don't Want Our Loving to Die". With parallels to the Small Faces, the Herd quickly became trapped by their teenybop appeal.....in fact Steve Marriott thought of them as a bit of a joke......but in truth they weren't bad.
Supported by Framton's blossoming guitar playing, they are actually one of the groups who appeared most often live at the Marquee in London over the last 40 years.

He would have given his right arm to join the Small Faces - well - figuratively speaking - and joined them live for at least one late 1968 gig at Brentwood in Essex.....but Steve Marriott's plea for him to join was turned down by the other Faces, and by the time the invitation did come for him to join, Steve had already left, and Peter was committed to Humble Pie.

The next few years are history. In the same way that Ronnie Lane was a foil for Marriott, and Paul McCartney for Lennon, Peter Frampton provided a gentler jazzy contrast to Steve. His guitar playing in particular layered on top of the live Pie work was sensational.

However, as Steve came more and more out of his post-Small Faces shell, and turned into the live human dynamo of the 70's, he frightened Peter to death......with Peter leaving just as Rocking the Fillmore trailblazed up the charts.

The next few years were fairly barren for Frampton - despite some excellent albums, and some equally excellent live performances. However, his hard work touring the States was money in the bank, and it was returned with interest when Frampton Comes Alive struck.

At its height, the album was selling 100,000 copies a week - and Peter had to re-invent himself as a stadium rock performer. For a spell in 1976, during the USA bicentennial celebrations he was the biggest artist in the world.

He often wonders what would have happened if he had followed Frampton Comes Alive with the excellent 1981 album Breaking All the Rules...but by then he had spiralled downwards. In the event, his follow up to the live album was "I'm In You", which is a very good album. It spawned a smash hit single, and the album sold 8 million copies. However, A&M considered it a flop ! If that was bad, a terrible car accident was much worse, his relationship with Penny ended and stories of depression and heavy drinking emerged. But the commercial suicide of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie was what sunk Peter without trace, and it did the same to the Bee Gees.

Ironically, the soundtrack album is again pretty good - but the film was more a testimony to the egos of Robert Stigwood and Dee Anthony than the right career move for their charges. Peter was lying in his hospital bed after his car accident as the movie premiere crowds laughed and sniggered their way through the film. It wasn't a comedy !

Other albums followed....."Where I Should Be", "The Art of Control" and "Premonition". None but the first of these making sales volumes.....but following "Premonition", Peter joined David Bowie as band leader for his "Glass Spider" 1987 world tour.

In 1991, Peter Frampton and Steve Marriott joined musical forces for the first time in over 20 years. After recording several tracks of new material in Peter’s California studio, the project was tragically cut short with the death of Steve Marriott. 

Ten years later, Peter along with original Pie members Greg Ridley and Jerry Shirley joined Clem Clempson on stage for the Steve Marriott Memorial Concert.   The 90's saw Peter hit top form again with the 1994 release of the "Peter Frampton" album, and an excellent Live in Detroit CD.

 

 

DAVE “CLEM” CLEMPSON

 

PETER FRAMPTON

 

GREG RIDLEY

 

JERRY SHIRLEY

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