By the age of 10, Frampton was playing in a band called The Little Ravens and played on the same bill at school as George & The Dragons, a group including David Bowie, then a student of Peter's art teacher/ dad, Owen Frampton. In fact, Peter and David would spend time together at lunch breaks, playing Buddy Holly songs. At the age of 11, Peter was playing with a band called The Trubeats, before joining a band called The Preachers, produced and managed by Bill Wyman, of the Rolling Stones. By 16, Peter had been recruited to be the lead guitarist/singer in The Herd, scoring a handful of British teenybopper hits. Peter was named "The Face 0f 1968" by the UK press - he was well on his way.
By 1969, he had formed Humble Pie with ex-Small Faces singer/guitarist Steve Marriott. Peter was only 19 years old. After five albums with Humble Pie, Frampton went solo in 1971, just in time to see 'Rockin' The Fillmore' chase up the US charts. The next five years were a period of writing, recording and touring, as well as guesting on many other artists records (Nilsson, George Harrison to name two ). Signed to A&M, his first 3 albums were building the foundations of a solid fan base - 'Wind Of Change' in 1971, 'Frampton's Camel' in 1973 (which featured Peter within a group project) and 'Somethin's Happening' in 1974. Peter's live work did much to enhance his reputation and eventually the hard work paid off with the release in 1975 of 'Frampton', which gave the world a taste of what was yet to come. The album went to #32 in the US charts, and went gold.
All this culminated in the astonishing success of 'Frampton Comes Alive!', a live album recorded at San Francisco's famed Winterland, and released in 1976. The concert was recorded, and the album went from a single album to a double when one of the record label's bosses, Jerry Moss ( the 'M' in 'A&M' Records ) said "Where's the rest?"! The extra tracks put on to make it a double included Peter's three biggest hits, 'Do You Feel Like We Do?', 'Baby I Love Your Way' and 'Show Me The Way'. Frampton had perfected the "voice tube effect" and used this gimmick on "Show Me The Way', a US number 6 hit in February 1976. The album scaled the U.S. chart and stayed on top for a total of 10 weeks, in four visits during a record-breaking two-year stay. It also reached number 6 in the UK album chart. The record became the biggest-selling live album in history and sold over 16 million copies. Quite why the record was so successful has perplexed many rock critics.
The resulting publicity and multi-million-dollar grossing tour made Peter Frampton an international superstar. He was named Rolling Stone Magazine's 'Artist of the Year' in 1976 and received innumerable industry plaudits for album and concert sales. By the end of '76, Peter had reportedly earned an estimated gross of $70 million in concert fees and royalties.
The subsequent years were a challenge, both musically and personally. Although, he would have preferred a long break from the non-stop hubbub, Peter nonetheless returned to the studio, and released 'I'm In You' in 1977, seeing the album and same-titled single reach platinum and #1 respectively. Guest musicians lined up to help out, Mick Jagger and Stevie Wonder included. A version of Stevie Wonder's 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours' was a single success.
In 1978 Peter appeared in the movie version of The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', alongside the Bee Gees. He played the role of Billy Shears. The movie was not received well, although it did give Peter another Rolling Stones magazine cover appearance. The soundtrack was successful though, it reached #5 in the album charts and went platinum. Peter appears on the album, performing Beatles tunes alongside people like George Burns.
In 1978, Peter suffered a near fatal car crash in the Bahamas, which left him with a concussion, muscle damage and broken bones. But in 1979, he released the album 'Where I Should Be', which went gold and produced the hit 'I Can't Stand It No More'.
Frampton continued to release albums on a semi-annual basis throughout the 80's. There was 'Breaking All The Rules' in 1981, 'Art Of Control' in 1982 and then a four year break from issuing albums was ended by the release of 'Premonition' in 1986.
In 1987, Frampton's career enjoyed a tremendous surge when he was invited by David Bowie to play lead guitar on the latter's Glass Spider World Tour. Peter had competition for that lead-guitar spot from Carlos Alomar, Bowie's faithful six-stringer who solos on 'Fashion' and 'Scary Monsters'. Frampton isn't used to sharing the stage with any guitarist, lead or otherwise. It also helped that Richard Cottle, one of Bowie's keyboardists, played on Frampton's 'Premonition' and toured with him in 1986 and 1998; and bassist Carmine Rojas worked with Frampton on some unreleased songs from the 'Premonition' sessions.
After the tour was over, Peter moved to Los Angeles and started writing and recording at home. These songs became the basis for the 'When All The Pieces Fit' album, released in 1989. The previous year, the Florida based band 'Will To Power' had a U.S. #1 hit with a version of Peter's 'Baby I Love Your Way', coupled with 'Freebird' as a medley. It also reached #9 in the UK charts.
In late 1990, Peter contacted his old friend Steve Marriott and began a musical collaboration with him that seemed to have great potential. Sadly, the project was doomed, as Steve was tragically killed in a fire at his home in April, 1991. By this time, Peter had co-written 4 songs with Steve, and recorded 3 of them in LA, rehearsing a band to go out and play. This was the first time they had worked together since 1971, and Peter had even jammed with Steve at a small pub in London.
Peter said: "We were very close, and we were working together right up until the time he died. We were not going to redo Humble Pie, but this was gonna be a Peter Frampton/Steve Marriot, Steve Marriot/Peter Frampton project. But the good thing is we did get to write and work and record together, and you can actually hear them on CDs I put out. There's three songs on three different CDs. But, here I was with a partner again, feeling that I was back on track and all of a sudden, he's gone. It was another reason I felt I had to go back on the road".
And he did, this time concentrating on small clubs and venues, in an effort to return to his roots and stay close to the audience. What was to be six weeks turned into seven months, ultimately growing from clubs - breaking the attendance record at New York's Ritz - to playing 15,000 seat amphitheaters in other cities.
In 1994, Peter released a self-titled album on Relativity Records, and once again hit the road to support it. The classic guitar work, crisp and melodic, combined with his trademark pop sensibility with a rock song, were evident throughout. Then, in 1995, Peter decided to release another live album. For this album, 'Frampton Comes Alive II', the band of Bob Mayo (also on Frampton Comes Alive!) on keyboard, guitar and vocals, John Regan on bass, and John Robinson (J.R.) on drums, rehearsed for three weeks for a road trip all geared to the last three nights of recording.
In 1997, Peter played on Bill Wyman's CD, 'The Rhythm Kings: Struttin' Our Stuff'. Later that year, he and Wyman played together in Europe to promote the CD along with Gary Brooker, Albert Lee, Georgie Fame and Beverly Skeets.
There have been many other recent projects - including concerts to benefit the aid work in Bosnia and other charity work, two tours with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band in 1997 and 1998, an appearance on VH-1's Hard Rock Live series, his 1998 tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd, an appearance on the Simpsons as himself, two songs he recorded for a Walt Disney Records project, Tigger Mania, writing music for and acting in the Cameron Crowe movie 'Almost Famous', a collaboration with eMedia Guitar Method to support and endorse their guitar tuition program, producing singer/songwriter Eric Stuart, and a performance with the British Rock Symphony in New York City, as well as a tour of Australia in February 2000.
Peter Frampton remained hard working and attentive to the needs of his fan base - most kids growing up in the 70's grew up listening to Frampton and Peter is constantly out there, performing and bringing his music and talent to generations of fans.
August 2003 was the release date for a new Peter Frampton CD called "Now", that features the radio hit, "Verge Of A Thing" as well as a classic remake of the Beatles, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". The all instrumental CD "Fingerprints", which featured collaborations with members from Pearl Jam, The Rolling Stones, The Shadows and The Grateful Dead was issued in September, 2006, and was supported by a tour across America. On February 11th, 2007, "Fingerprints" was awarded the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Frampton's fourteenth studio album, "Thank You Mr. Churchill", was released on April 27th, 2010, supported by a Summer tour across North America with the English group, Yes. Peter's touring band consisted of Rob Arthur on keyboards, guitar and backing vocals, John Regan on bass, Adam Lester on guitar, and Dan Wojciechowski on drums. They also made several appearances in the UK beginning in March, 2011. Later that same year came The Frampton Comes Alive 35th Anniversary Tour, which was on the road from June 15th to October 22nd. Each night, Frampton followed the play list for the original tour from 1976. Due to the overwhelming popularity of that project, it was extended into the Fall of 2012, with stops scheduled across the United States.
In December, Peter announced plans to take a collection of guitarists on tour in the summer of 2013 under the title of Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus. B.B. King was the first to sign up for the tour, scheduled to appear for three weeks in August.
That's Peter Framptom that you hear, playing guitar on Frankie Valli's "Grease".