Saturday, November 15, 2008

33. Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive

On my 14th birthday I received Frampton Comes Alive.

A few friends chipped in to get me the album. They didn't have enough money left over for wrapping paper, so they wrapped it in tin foil.

As usual for a late summer afternoon in 1976, we met that August 25 behind fca.jpgthe local 7-11 to drink beer (hidden in Slurpee cups) and smoke cigarettes. They presented the foil present to me and I unwrapped it, knowing what it was, relishing the moment I had been waiting for all week.

And there it was. The blonde curls, the look of holy ecstasy, the blue lights; I was finally holding the prize of my collection in all its vinyl glory.

I didn't let on that I didn't really like Frampton's music. I liked his hair. I liked his smile. I liked him. I held fast to the lie that I was all into his music, but at that point in my life I was really into Kiss and Zeppelin. Frampton was, for me, just a pretty face.

Ok, I went crazy over three songs on the double album ("Show Me the Way," "Do You Feel Like I Do," "Baby I Love Your Way") and two of those songs I only liked because of the "couples only" potential at the roller rink, but the rest was crap.

However, I was cool for having it because everyone wanted a copy. So the troops gathered and we went back to my house and listened for hours to the stupid wah-wah pedal thing.

When you are 14 and you just smoked some pot and the record player is emitting sounds of "do you feel like we do" played through some voice synthesizer, all you think about is some Charlie Brown special where the teachers are doing that wah-wah-wah voice and you keep saying to yourself, if I had just asked for Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak instead, I'd be rocking out to The Boys Are Back In Town instead of pretending to like the music of just another pretty face.

Yet, for some reason, Frampton Comes Alive makes an appearance on every list of top albums EVER. It's not. It's two albums consisting of three overplayed songs, a bunch of crap and some pictures of a really hot guy.

Favorite song: None. So here's Dinosaur Jr doing Show Me The Way
Peter Frampton at classicbands


Cullen said...

While you may or may not like Do You Feel Like I Do?, it is a groundbreaking song. Frampton showed generations of guitarists what was possible with two relatively cheap effects (wah and vox box), for better or worse.

Guys who like to have fun with their music, like Joe Satriani or Gary Hoey, have put it to really good use.

steelopus said...

At the end of the day, Frampton is more than just a pretty face - he's a genuinely talented guitarist, and that is something that children these days would have to actively search for to find in modern popular music.
40 years ago, great guitarists WERE popular music.

michele said...

Fine, he was a great guitarist. But I still don't like the album.

Solonor Rasreth said...

My easy-as-pie lie detector for anyone over 30 is to ask them what happened to their copies of "Frampton Comes Alive," "Saturday Night Fever," and "Thriller". If they say they never owned them, they're LIARS!

For the record (ouch), I left all of them in Maine when I moved to Florida 14 years ago. It's been a lovely separation, but of the three I don't miss Frampton one bit. (I kinda miss Saturday Night Fever sometimes, but it passes when I sober up.)

margi said...

It was issued out here in the suburbs during the 70's. That and oak dining sets as far as the eye can see.

I agree. Mediocre at best.

BUT - I can still smell the cigarettes and beer and teenage longing when I hear "Do You Feel Like I Do?"

badkitty_ said...

To Solonor Rasreth: I actually never owned "Frampton Comes Alive," because my best friend did, and we listened to it over and over in her bedroom. We were tied at the waist, so it didn't really matter who "owned" it. But I did (and still do) own "Saturday Night Fever" and "Thriller." So, just because someone doesn't own all three albums ... just sayin'. ;)