Happy Birthday Peter Frampton: Performing ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ In 2016
Peter Frampton celebrates his birthday today. The renowned singer-songwriter and guitarist was born on April 22, 1950 in Beckenham, Kent, England. While Frampton found Brit-pop success at 16 with the Herd, Peter’s musical career began even earlier at Bromley Technical School where he would jam with school chum David Bowie on Buddy Holly songs during lunch breaks. Peter’s band, The Ravens, and Bowie’s group, George and the Dragons, also shared a bill during a school concert.
Much of Frampton’s early career was characterized by collaborations. After his time in the Herd, Frampton and the Small Faces’ Steve Marriott teamed up to form the supergroup Humble Pie in 1969. The guitarist also did session work with rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson and The Who’s John Entwistle. But in 1971, after a prolific four-album output with Humble Pie, Frampton struck out on his own with his 1972 solo debut album, Wind Of Change, which saw him continuing high-profile collaborations with Ringo Starr and Billy Preston.
Peter followed with 1973’s Frampton’s Camel and 1974’s Somethin’s Happening, but all three albums weren’t as commercially successful as what was to come. Peter’s 1975 LP, Frampton, which peaked at No. 32 on the U.S. album charts and was certified gold, foreshadowed the astronomical success that was to come with his breakout 1976 double live album, Framptom Comes Alive!, one of the most successful live records of all time.
Forty years after the arrival of Frampton Comes Alive!, Peter strolled into the NPR offices to perform a Tiny Desk Concert. Seeing Frampton brought back some memories for NPR Music chief Bob Boilen, as he attested to in his piece accompanying Framton’s Tiny Desk play:
I could walk by Peter Frampton on the street and not recognize him. His long blond hair, which shines like a halo on his album Frampton Comes Alive! may be gone, but as soon as he sat behind the Tiny Desk and began singing, 1976 came rushing back. I worked in a record store the year Frampton Comes Alive! came out, and it was one of those records that seemed to have universal appeal. We sold a ton of copies of that double live album and I can still remember the label and number (A&M 3703) from having written it on countless sales tickets.
Forty years later, on the new album Acoustic Classics, Peter Frampton has taken those electric guitar songs, some linked forever to that unmistakable talk box effect, and stripped them down to their essence, just a few acoustic guitars and his voice.
Framton and guitarist Gordon Kennedy delivered acoustic takes of beloved tunes “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side),” “Lines On My Face,” and “Baby, I Love Your Way” for a multi-generational crowd, and, as Boilen said, “these songs still thrill.”
To celebrate Peter Frampton’s birthday, watch the singer-songwriter and guitarist’s Tiny Desk Concert performance in 2016 below via the JamBase Live Video Archive: