Acclaimed English guitarist, singer and songwriter Peter Frampton joined host Kenneth Womack to talk “being two musicians” and more on the latest episode of “Everything Fab Four”, a podcast co-produced by me and Womack ( a music scholar who also writes about pop music for Salon) and distributed by Salon.
Frampton, known for his legendary 1976 double album “Frampton Comes Alive!” and hits such as “Baby, I Love Your Way”, “Do You Feel Like I Do?” (the best song “written on a hangover”, as he tells Womack) and “Show Me the Way”, learned to play the guitar at the age of seven. Being born a few years after the Beatles, and yet a few years before the next wave of popular musicians, gave him an edge in the rock music “proving ground” that England had become at the time.
Growing up watching musicians such as Lonnie Donegan and Billy Fury on English television, it was in 1962 that Frampton saw the Beatles perform “Love Me Do” on a broadcast and was completely taken aback. “It was different, unique, attractive,” he explains. “It wasn’t Cliff Richard anymore with four guys standing behind him. They were on their own and they had written the music themselves. It was genius.”
Frampton himself had been playing in bands since he was 10 years old and continued to progress in various bands on the British scene in the 1960s, working alongside promising colleague David Bowie and then, under the mentorship of the Rolling Stones. . Bill Wyman. After a stint with the group Humble Pie, he launched out on his own. But the moment he calls “like all his birthday and Christmas wishes coming true at the same time” was asked to play on a Doris Troy track (“Ain’t That Cute”, 1970) that George Harrison was producing . “I walked into the studio and George said, ‘Hello Pete.’ And I was like, ‘How does he know who I am!?'”
The opportunity opened the door for Frampton to work with many other musicians such as Ringo Starr and Klaus Voormann, and to play on Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album. He also met beloved Beatles road manager Mal Evans and has an incredible story of holding John Lennon’s famous black Rickenbacker guitar through that experience.
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When it comes to recording music, Frampton says that “the technology is wonderful, but you have to have a good song to start with”, and that there is a “me in the studio” and a “me live”. But at the end of the day, like the Beatles and all the best musicians, he feels that “there is a joy that I have when I play, and it shows”.
Hear the full conversation with Peter Frampton on “Everything Fab Four,” including how he came into possession of an early copy of “Sgt. Pepper” that “literally fell out of the back of a truck,” and subscribe you via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google or wherever you listen.
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“Everything Fab Four” is distributed by Salon. Host Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of Beatles producer George Martin and bestselling books ‘Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles’ and ‘John Lennon, 1980 : The Last Days in the Life.” His latest project is the biography and authorized archives of Beatles road manager Mal Evans, due out in 2023.
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