What was it about “Frampton Comes Alive” that blew us away in 1976? Were we ready for a blitzkrieg of a live tour de force? The crowd interactions that made Frampton seem like a rock god, when his first 4 solo records had actually not done all that well. What was the formula?
I was 14 years old and about to leave for prep school up East. Leaving everything I knew behind. Leaving for the unknown. And yes, at that moment, I DID feel like Peter did. Was he openly saying he was getting high? Yes, yes, I believe that’s what he was saying.
And aside from the still-alive classic rock tracks “Do You Feel Like We Do?” “Show Me The Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way” there are some other great songs. Songs that more typify my fall into rock fantasy. We all wanted to BE Peter Frampton. 8th graders, with long hair and a subversive attitude. I did not even own a guitar at that point. I had played flute in band. BUT I COULD SING. Choir was my strength. And Frampton’s massive album had a lot to sing along with.
My stand out tracks, listening to the album on Spotify at the moment, would have to be:
- I Wanna Go To the Sun
- All I Want To Be Is By Your Side
- Baby, I Love Your Way
and of course
- Do You Feel Like We Do?
Which became kind of an anthem for my generation as we grew up trying to push the envelope of what was legal and illegal, of what was acceptable vs. what was fun. And during Spring break that freshman year in high school I visited my sister in NYC and bought a cheap electric guitar.
Let’s put this in context by looking at the top hits from 1976 and see what was playing on the radio.
Yeah, I’d say Frampton was in a class by himself. And I was in his army of followers.
We owe a lot to Mr. Frampton.
Frampton said he regretted the (RS shirtless) photo because it changed his image as a credible artist into a teen idol. [And I bet he wishes he had a bit more of that hair these days.]
And there was even a bit of contraversy that surfaced about the phenominal Comes Alive album later.
“Because “Show Me the Way” had not yet been released in any form, the audience response was less than more familiar numbers. On the original album, Frampton added more audience response to make it appear that it was as recognizable to the audience as more familiar material.” They enhanced the audience tracks.
My hat’s off to you today Mr. Frampton. In all you still do, you are still showing the way to the sun.
Reference: Peter Frampton (wikipedia)