Frampton Comes Alive! was the third album released by British rock band Peter Frampton.
Released in 1976, it was a multiplatinum hit and is one of the best-selling albums of all time.
The album combined elements from pop, blues, and rock music in order to create a sound which became popularly known as prog rock.
Frampton Comes Alive! has been certified Diamond by the RIAA for US sales of more than 10 million copies in 1977. what designated peter frampton’s frampton comes alive! a “big album”?
The album reached number one on both the Billboard 200 and UK Albums Chart.
It has sold more than 17 million copies in the U.S. and more than 22 million copies worldwide,
which makes it one of the best-selling albums of all time.
The album was a critical success,
winning the 1977 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and receiving five other nominations including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.
A key element to Frampton’s success with this album is that he had complete artistic control,
from producing to mixing to engineering. He is quoted as saying:
“With this album, I pretty much had a free rein to do what I wanted. I think that made all the difference.”
The first track on the album, “Do You Feel Like We Do”,
has one of rock’s most recognizable open riffs and the highly distorted guitar sound of Frampton’s Hamer Sunburst guitar,
which came to define the sound of early progressive rock.
This song also features a signature guitar lick by Frampton; this lick is heard in other songs such as “Show Me The Way” and “I’m In You”.
“Show Me the Way” (the first single released from the album) features an acoustic guitar and violins.
While the song, “Show Me The Way” was popular on FM radio, “Do You Feel Like We Do”, and “Baby I Love Your Way” were alternative rock hits,
and became mainstays of Frampton’s live shows.
The album also had two singles:
“Baby I Love Your Way”, which made it to No. 1 in the US and
UK (the song is featured in the film Beverly Hills Cop), as well as going gold (No. 1 for approximately one month on Billboard); and “Let Me Love You Tonight”.
Both songs have been certified Gold by RIAA.
It is notable that the “live” tracks on this album, particularly those on side two,
do not exactly replicate the sound of live (or in-studio) recordings.
In fact, to hear the songs as recorded on this album the listener has to turn up all the way to ten on his or her volume dial, as “Do You Feel Like We Do” was recorded at eleven.
The song is one of Frampton’s most aggressive rockers and is a staple of live shows today.
It also features his signature ‘talking guitar riffs’ during his solos between each verse.
The album’s packaging referred to the songs as ‘movie’ versions of the songs,
and a still shot (intended to resemble a film trailer) shown in the liner notes is interesting in that
it more closely resembles “Frampton Comes Alive!”s final cut than any of the other images from the original LP.
The album also features one live track from 1976, “Shakedown”, which was recorded at
The Band’s ‘Crime in Progress’ shows in January 1976.
The picture on the cover of the album was taken from the cover of a show flyer for the Philadelphia concert,
and was even used on promotional posters for that show.
Frampton’s wife Gloria recalls,
“It was one of those nights where everything fell into place, and it was like everything just came together.”
The song “Baby I Love Your Way” was featured in a 2013 episode of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, “My Whole Life Is Thunder”.
The Peter Frampton album also made it to No. 1 in many other countries at that time:
“Show Me The Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” were released as singles in many countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“Baby I Love Your Way” was released as a single in the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
John Bush of AllMusic gave the album a positive review, praising its diversity and noting Frampton’s “musical growth”, writing that
it “proves that The Showman was no flash in the pan.”
In “The Encyclopedia of Rock”, Bill Gibron wrote: “”Frampton Comes Alive!” is an album of extremely rare distinction.
Never has an album been more directly responsible for creating a career and never has an album been more directly responsible for creating a legend.
The outlandish demonstration of studio wizardry was once a controversial prospect,
but never has it been more important to prove its equal artistic value.
In a career that’s been full of endless self-milking, this album stands as the very essence of the illusionist.”
The song “Baby I Love Your Way” was featured in the 1985 film Beverly Hills Cop and in its 1987 sequel Beverly Hills Cop II.
The song’s distinctive guitar riff is also used during several scenes in the 2003 video game “”.