Peter Kenneth Frampton (born April 22, 1950) is a British/American musician, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He was previously associated with the bands Humble Pie and The Herd, among others. In 1982 Frampton tried unsuccessfully to split his ties with A&M Records; however, he re-signed with the label in 2006 and released his Grammy Award-winning Fingerprints. He is considered by the Cincinnati Enquirer as the "The Face of 1968".
Frampton's international breakthrough album was his live release, Frampton Comes Alive!. The album sold over 6 million copies in the United States alone, and since then he has released several major albums. He has worked with David Bowie and both Matt Cameron and Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, among others. In later years Frampton is remembered for such hits as "Baby, I Love Your Way", "I'm in You" "Show Me the Way" and "Do You Feel Like We Do."
Frampton first became interested in music when he was only seven years old. He discovered his grandmother's banjolele (a banjo-shaped ukulele) in the attic. Teaching himself to play, he became near-obsessed, and upon receiving a guitar and piano, from his parents, taught himself those instruments as well. At age eight he started taking classical music lessons.
Early influences were Cliff Richard & The Shadows (featuring guitarist Hank Marvin) and American rockers Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, and then the Ventures and the Beatles. His father introduced him to Belgian gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.
Frampton in August 2008
By the age of ten, Frampton played in a band called The Little Ravens. Both he and David Bowie were pupils at Bromley Technical School where Frampton's father, Owen Frampton, was an art teacher and head of the Art department. The Little Ravens played on the same bill at school as Bowie's band, George and the Dragons. Peter and David would spend time together at lunch breaks, playing Buddy Holly songs.
At the age of 11, Peter was playing with a band called The Trubeats followed by a band called The Preachers, produced and managed by Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones.
He became a successful child singer, and in 1966, he became a member of The Herd. He was the lead guitarist and singer, scoring a handful of British teenybopper hits. Frampton was named "The Face of 1968" by the UK press.
In early 1969, when Frampton was 18 years old, he joined with Steve Marriott of The Small Faces to form Humble Pie.
While playing with Humble Pie, Frampton also did session recording with other artists, including: Harry Nilsson, Jim Price, Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as George Harrison's solo "All Things Must Pass", in 1971, and John Entwistle's "Whistle Rymes", in 1972. During the Harrison session he was introduced to the 'talk box' that has become his trademark guitar sound.
After five albums with Humble Pie, Frampton left the band and went solo in 1971, just in time to see Rockin' The Fillmore rise up the US charts. He remained with Dee Anthony, the same personal manager that Humble Pie had used.
His debut was 1972's Wind of Change, with guest artists Ringo Starr and Billy Preston. This album was followed by Frampton's Camel in 1973, which featured Frampton working within a group project. In 1974, Frampton released Somethin's Happening. Frampton toured extensively to support his solo career. In 1975, the Frampton album was released. The album went to #32 in the US charts, and is certified Gold by the RIAA.
Peter Frampton had little commercial success with his early albums. This changed with Frampton's breakthrough best-selling live album, Frampton Comes Alive!, in 1976. "Baby, I Love Your Way" and "Show Me the Way" were singles. "Do You Feel Like We Do", despite its length, was also popular. The latter two tracks also featured his use of the talk box guitar effect. The album was recorded in 1975, mainly at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco, California, where Humble Pie had previously enjoyed a good following. Released in early January, it debuted on the charts on 14 February at number 191. It stayed at the top of the charts, at number one, for 10 weeks, in the Billboard's Top 40 album chart for 55 weeks, and stayed on the Billboard 200 charts in total for 97 Weeks. It was the top selling album of 1976, beating Fleetwood Mac's Fleetwood Mac for the top spot, and was the 14th best seller of 1977. The album became the biggest selling live album at the time of its release and sold over 6 million copies in the US, 16 million worldwide. It has since dropped to fourth all-time, after The Garth Brooks album Double Live, which at 20 times platinum is the best selling live album of all time at present. Bruce Springsteen is next at 13 times with Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band Live 1975 - '85 and The Eagles come in next with Eagles Live at 7 times platinum. Frampton Comes Alive! is 6 times platinum.
The success of Frampton Comes Alive! put him on the cover of Rolling Stone, in a famous shirtless photo by Francesco Scavullo. In interviews, Frampton has stated he regrets the photo because it changed his image as a credible artist into a teen idol.
In late 1976, he and manager Dee Anthony visited the White House at the invitation of Steve Ford, the president's son. The album put Frampton in a position to be offered, and then accept, a co-starring role with The Bee Gees in director Robert Stigwood's poorly received film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Frampton's career seemed to be falling as quickly as it had risen.
His following album, I'm in You (1977) contained the hit title single and went platinum, but fell well short of expectations compared to Frampton Comes Alive!.
In 1979, Frampton returned to the studio following a near-fatal vehicle accident, to record the album Where I Should Be. Among those contributing to the album were past band members Stanley Sheldon (bass), Bob Mayo (keyboards/guitar/vocals), Chad Cromwell (drums), and John Siomos (drums/vocals).
In 1980, his album Rise Up was released to promote his tour in Brazil. The album eventually turned into Breaking All the Rules, released the next year in 1981. These albums were the first he recorded almost completely live.
Frampton continued to record throughout the 1980s, although his albums generally met with little commercial success. However, he did achieve a brief, moderate comeback of sorts in 1986 with the release of his Premonition album, and the single "Lying," which became a big hit on the Mainstream Rock charts. Most notably, he also united with old friend David Bowie, and both worked together to make albums. Frampton played on Bowie's 1987 album Never Let Me Down and joined the Glass Spider world tour.
In the late 1990s, he starred in an infomercial plugging the internationally successful eMedia Guitar Method, a piece of instructional software represented as an alternative to taking actual guitar lessons. He claimed in the infomercial that the software was the best way to learn guitar.
In 1994, Frampton wrote and released the album "Peter Frampton", the final version of which contained material recorded on Tascam cassette recorders. Originally released on the Relativity label, this record was re-released in 2000 by Legacy records, with 4 bonus tracks and additional notes by Peter.
In 1995, Frampton released Frampton Comes Alive! II which contained live versions of many of the songs from his 1980s and 1990s solo albums. Frampton Comes Alive! II was accompanied by a video release on DVD, recorded at The Fillmore Theatre on June 15 1995.
Although there was a large amount of marketing for the album, it did not sell well. After Frampton Comes Alive! II, he recorded and toured with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings and Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, where he and Jack Bruce performed a cover version of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love".
In 2003, Frampton released the album Now, and embarked on a tour with Styx to support it. He also toured with The Elms, and even appeared in 2006 on the FOX Broadcasting variety show Celebrity Duets, paired with Chris Jericho of WWE fame. They were the first pair voted out.
On 12 September 2006, Frampton released his newest album, an instrumental work titled Fingerprints. His band consists of drummer Shawn Fichter, guitarist Audley Freed, bassist John Regan (Frampton's life long best friend,), and keyboardist/guitarist Rob Arthur, and guest artists such as members of Pearl Jam, Hank Marvin, and his bassist on Frampton Comes Alive!, Stanley Sheldon.
On 11 February 2007, Fingerprints was awarded the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. In February 2007, he also appeared on the Chicago based PBS television show Soundstage.
Frampton is currently working on a new album, which is supposed to be released in the spring of 2010.
In June 1978, Frampton was involved in a near fatal car accident in the Bahamas, suffering multiple broken bones, concussion and muscle damage. Dealing with the pain of the accident contributed to a brief problem with drug abuse.
Frampton has lived in London, New York (Westchester), Los Angeles, and Nashville. He moved to Indian Hill, an eastern suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, in June 2000, the birthplace of his wife Tina Elfers and the city in which they were married in 1996. They chose to live there to be closer to Tina's family. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Frampton decided to become a United States citizen.
Frampton has been married three times. His wives have been: Mary Lovett (1971?73); Barbara Gold (1983?93), with whom he had two children, Jade and Julian; and Tina Elfers (13 January 1996 ? present), with whom he has one child, Mia Frampton. Jade Frampton earned a degree in fashion merchandising from Kent State University, Ohio in 2005.
In 1996, Frampton appears on an episode of The Simpsons entitled Homerpalooza, in which Peter plays Do You Feel Like We Do.
Frampton also made a T.V. appearance for the show Family Guy on the episode Death Lives in which Peter Griffin asks Death to bring Peter Frampton to play his and his wife's marriage song, Baby, I Love Your Way
Also in 2000, Frampton served as a technical advisor for Cameron Crowe's autobiographical film Almost Famous. He also appears briefly in the film as 'Reg', a road manager for Humble Pie, Frampton's real-life former band.