Peter Frampton started out with British pop-rockers the Herd in the mid-1960s before moving on to a harder sound with U.K. blues-rock legends Humble Pie. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Frampton started a solo career in the '70s that didn't really take off until he released a concert recording in 1976. His massive hit double-live album FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE! almost single-handedly re-popularized the live-album format for other rockers, and made the curly-haired singer a rock god and pinup boy overnight. Naturally, he could never equal that record's runaway success, but Frampton never stopped working. He even took a spot in David Bowie's band for a while in the '80s, ever the guitarist's guitarist.
If you were challenged to name five rock albums that epitomized the '70s, Frampton Comes Alive! should probably top the list. Former Humble Pie guitarist Peter Frampton recorded a few perfectly fine albums with his band Frampton's Camel, but it wasn't until some of those tracks were recorded at a live performance in San Francisco and released as Frampton Comes Alive! that he became a household name. Buoyant pop, sentimental ballads, arena rock--this album has it all. The double-LP package set sales records and contained three bona fide radio hits ("Baby, I Love Your Way," "Show Me the Way," and "Do You Feel Like We Do?"), one of which, shockingly enough, was over 14 minutes long. No wonder that, to many, the two-and-a-half-minute songs of the Damned and the Sex Pistols felt like a breath of fresh air a year or two later. --Lorry Fleming
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