- British rock singer, songwriter and musician born in 1950 from Beckenham, Kent, England.
- Frampton found his grandmother’s banjolele in the attic when he was a young boy, and he taught himself how to play guitar when he was 8 years old. At 12 years old, he joined a local band, The Little Ravens, playing at school functions. Soon, he moved to another band, The Trubeats, and then, The Preachers, appearing on television.
- At 16, he dropped out of school to join The Herd full time as lead guitarist and vocalist. The Herd’s psychedelic pop sound had 3 hits on UK radio, and in 1968, Frampton was on the cover of a UK teen magazine, where he was named “The Face of 1968.”
- In 1969, he left The Herd to form a new band, Humble Pie. With Humble Pie, 4 studio albums and a live album were released. The live album managed to be certified gold, and a couple of singles made it onto the Hot 100 chart. During his time in the group, he worked as a session musician for several other artists. While sitting in on a session in 1970, he heard an artist playing the steel guitar using a “talk box” – a device that allows for a musical instrument to create speech sound. Frampton would learn how to use it, and later it would make him famous.
- Frampton left Humble Pie in 1971 to start a solo career. He released 4 albums from 1972 to 1975, with little success. None of the singles from the first 3 albums charted, and the albums barely made the Billboard 200 album chart. The fourth album, titled Frampton, was released in 1975 before he went on tour to promote it. The singles again did not chart, though 2 of them would be released again….
- His breakthrough came with his next release – a live album recorded when he was on tour to promote Frampton. The album, titled Frampton Comes Alive, was released in 1976, and was a huge hit. The double album was certified 8x platinum, reaching the top of the album chart for 10 weeks. It became the best selling live album of all time (Eric Clapton’s Unplugged, The Eagles’ Live and Garth Brooks’ Double Live eventually sold more copies). Three singles from the album were hits – Show Me the Way peaked at #6, Baby, I Love Your Way reached #12 and Do You Feel Like We Do made it to #10.
- Show Me the Way and Do You Feel Like We Do featured Frampton using a talk box to allow his guitar to speak to his audience. I remember the sensation that this created – while the talk box had been around since 1939, Frampton’s use was the first time that most people had heard it in a song, and even today, Frampton is most famous for it. In 2000, Frampton launched his own guitar electronics line, called Framptone, and one of the featured products is a Framptone Talk Box.
- His follow-up studio album, I’m In You, was released in 1977. It was certified platinum, and the title track peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, his highest charting song. Another single from the album, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours), reached #18.
- It would be the last commercial success for Frampton. In 1978, he had the role of Billy Shears in the flopped film Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Later that year, he was in a near-fatal car accident. He recovered, but albums that he released after the accident sold very little. His last top 40 hit was in 1979, with I Can’t Stand It No More reaching #14, from the Where I Should Be album. He released 5 more albums from 1981 through 1994, without success.
- Six more albums were released in the 00s and 10s. His 2006 instrumental album, Fingerprints, featured over 25 musician friends contributing to the music, and it won a Grammy award for Best Instrumental Album. In 2019, Frampton announced that he has inclusion body myositis, a muscular degenerative condition. As such, he did a farewell tour in the U.S. His planned farewell tour for the UK was cancelled due to Covid-19.
- Listening to Do You Feel Like We Do on the radio in 1976, I thought that the talking guitar was one of the coolest things ever. Watch Frampton perform the iconic song now – the talking guitar starts at the 5:00 mark!