Singer/guitarist Peter Frampton was born 48 years ago today in
Beckenham, England. He enjoyed success early in his life with the teen
group the Herd, who had three U.K. hits between 1967-68. The
group's popularity and Frampton's good genes made him the "Face of 1968"
in several U.K. magazines. But Frampton had greater aspirations, so he
left the band at its peak to form Humble Pie with Steve Marriott, a
former member of the Small Faces. Frampton left Humble Pie after two
years and became a session man on albums such as George Harrison's
All Things Must Pass (1971). Frampton's debut album, Wind of
Change, was released on A&M Records in 1972. He formed the
Frampton's Camel band to back him on tour and released a few albums
under that name. His 1975 album, Frampton, went gold, based
largely on his non-stop touring of the States. Songs from that album
and his earlier efforts were included in 1976's Frampton Comes
Alive!. The live album, which featured a talk-box guitar effect on
some tunes, unexpectedly became a 15 million-seller in the next few
years and was, for a long time, one of the 10 best-selling LPs ever.
It yielded the hit singles "Baby I Love Your Way," "Show Me The Way" and "Do
You Feel Like We Do."
But this solo superstardom was short-lived for Frampton. The live
album's follow-up, 1977's I'm in You, featured the #2-charting title tune,
but little else of note, and it was ravaged by critics. Despite its
platinum sales, Frampton became depressed with the backlash he was
suffering amidst the emergence of punk rock. He survived a bad car
wreck in 1978, but that same year unfortunately starred in the huge film
debacle "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Based on the
classic Beatles album, but silly and uninspired, the film also starred
the Bee Gees and was an embarrassment for all concerned. Frampton was
never able to revive his career. A few songs from some of his
lackluster albums at the turn of the decade received FM airplay in the
U.S., but Frampton lost his headliner status. In the '80s, he played in a band
with David Bowie for a while and opened a tour for Stevie Nicks, but neither
garnered him much attention. In 1991, he planned to reunite with his Humble
Pie partner, but Marriott died in a house fire before the two could collaborate.
After touring with Ringo Starr's All-Star Band in the '90s, Frampton tried to make
lightning strike twice with the release of 1995's Frampton Comes Alive II.
The album received little airplay and never found an audience.
Other birthdays: Glen Campbell, 62, and Paul Carrack (Squeeze/Mike + the