1976: 'Frampton Comes Alive' Makes Peter Frampton A One-Album Wonder

By | July 4, 2019

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Peter Frampton performs at Oakland Stadium on July 2, 1977 in Oakland, California. Source: (Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)

Certain things in life aren’t meant to last: solar eclipses, phone batteries, and Peter Frampton’s musical ascendancy. Similar to a solar eclipse, Peter Frampton’s 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive! flourished brilliantly but only for a fleeting moment in time. Then it was over. The double live LP soared to number one on Billboard’s top 200 album chart and held the top spot for ten weeks.

It also sold more copies than any other album that year, topping out at eight million sold in the United States alone. The album won Rolling Stone’s readers poll for that year and came in at number 41 on the magazine’s Greatest Live Albums of All Time list. However, the album’s mammoth success was never repeated, despite Frampton’s various attempts to recapture the magic of Frampton Comes Alive!.

A Very Slow Build

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Frampton And Humble Pie. Source: (Billboard.com)

For the social media generation, going from zero to hero and back again in the blink of an eye, is commonplace. Frampton’s road to summit bears no resemblance to the boom and bust popularity of stars today. Instead, Frampton toiled away as a musician for five years before the meteoric rise and fall came to pass. As Peter says, “I did what you do on social media today by touring for five years.” As the lead guitarist for British supergroup Humble Pie, Frampton became relatively well known in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.