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Baker's Dozen

Shine On: Peter Frampton's Favourite Albums
Valerie Siebert , November 4th, 2013 09:58

Ahead of his Roundhouse show tomorrow night, the singer-songwriter, former Humble Pie man and guitarist extraordinaire gives us a rundown of his top LPs

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Photograph courtesy of Denis O'Regan

I first heard of Peter Frampton through my mother, who was a teenager when the massive live album Frampton Comes Alive! tore up the charts in America and held at No. 1 for no less than 10 weeks in 1976. But this was not the first album I was introduced to, nor was the image of the backlit, halo-haired Frampton on the cover of ... Comes Alive! the first that I saw. Rather it was a picture disc of his follow-up album I’m In You that I first came across in my parents’ record collection. Frampton is pictured on the cover lounging in a pair of satin magenta trousers and an unbuttoned patchwork blouse, chest-bared. Needless to say, my mother was one of a particular type of fanbase at the time of its release, and for better or worse for Frampton, this is one that endures.

But despite his struggles back then to be taken seriously outside of his looks, the analytical eye on his body of work shows that you would have to be a babbling contrarian to deny that the man has displayed serious guitar chops in the past and deserves his spot among the echelons of guitar gods. Starting out as a teen in 60s pop rock quartet The Herd, Frampton was greeted with the screaming teen fanbase early on. It wasn’t until similarly-saddled singer Steve Marriott of The Small Faces snapped him up for rock outfit Humble Pie that he was recognised for his virtuosity. In fact, the Small Faces’ refusal to add Frampton’s guitar sound to their line-up despite his prodding was instrumental in the band’s dissolution. Frampton released four studio albums with Humble Pie, as well as their landmark, recently reissued double live album Performance Rockin' The Fillmore, before going solo and talk-boxing his way to becoming one of the biggest rockstars of the 70s. Though he had a quick descent from superstardom, his weathering of the years has earned accolades – including a 2006 Grammy for instrumental album Fingerprints – and the respect of his peers. He was also called up by boyhood chum David Bowie to play on Never Let Me Down and serve as lead guitarist on the Glass Spider Tour.

Aside from his impressive history. Peter Frampton is just nice. So nice. If you rang him up to tell him you thought his entire work was a pile of shit he would probably thank you for your time and consideration. He is good humoured, humble and incredibly enthusiastic about the music that inspired him and brought him to where he is today.

The list he compiled contains childhood memories, cultural awakenings and pure unadulterated guitar nerdism across jazz, blues and rock & roll. The anecdotes that came out during the course of our chat also provided some mind-boggling name-dropping, with Frampton, over the years, having met and collaborated with almost every artist on this list.

Peter Frampton plays London Camden Roundhouse on Tuesday 5th November. Book Online: www.kililive.com, Ticket Hotline: 0844 871 8803. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Peter's choices

Universal have reissued Performance: Rockin' The Fillmore by Humble Pie in a special remastered four CD set, out now

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maxwell paul
Nov 5, 2013 11:52am

simply the best

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wayneb
Nov 5, 2013 11:57am

I first saw Peter Frampton on Germany's TV show Beat Club...in a video of 'I Can Fly' with The Herd, a very credible pop band that went on to be huge in the UK and Europe. This feature says Frampton joined Steve Marriott's band, Humble Pie. It was actually the other way around. Marriott had been offering suggestions to Frampton as to who to get for the band...and later asked if he too could join. Frampton's departure from HP happened when it was obvious the more boisterous Marriott was dominating the agenda. As for this choice of albums; It's wonderful that Frampton provides the context within which he heard these records for the first time (notably The Shadows, Cream and The Beatles), because he was in 'Singing London', the hippest, most happening place on earth at the time, so context is everything. On his latest DVD, 'Frampton Comes Alive 35' he is a bundle of joyful energy, one minute caressing his guitar, the next ripping off riffing that is as fiery as the fastest, but much more musical than most. His adulation of those who went before him - Hank Marvin, Django, Jeff Beck... is also a humbling reminder that we musicians look up to others for inspiration. That said, given his tasteful aesthetic and sense of melody, I am surprised he chose the Beck album with Jan Hammer instead of 'Blow by Blow' or 'Guitar Shop', or even Jeff's most recent 'Emotion & Commotion'. Nice to see mention of the Beach Boys' 'Darlin'', a much under-rated track. If anything - and it is really something - Peter Frampton represents - still - the joy of being a musician. He's an honest, down-to-earth, soulful individual who loves his art and his audience. He gets my total respect. And I will now have a listen to that most wonderful playing of his on the 'Frampton' album, then 'I'm in You' and 'Fingerprints'.

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David Parker
Dec 11, 2013 8:24pm

Thanks for that, Mr. Frampton. I'm definitely going to be tracking down some of these recordings.

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