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“I didn’t have huge expectations for Frampton Comes Alive!" says Peter Frampton. "My previous album, Frampton, had sold about 300,000 copies – a decent amount but not mind-blowing. There was talk at the label that maybe the live record could go gold. I was hoping we could do it, but I wasn't sure."
Released on 6 January 1976, Frampton Comes Alive! quickly became a behemoth, ushering in the era of the mega album - Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, The Eagles' Hotel California, the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and so on. “I remember when I got the call," says Frampton. "We had gone to number one in the US and were selling a million copies a week. It was more than I could have ever wished for. It was surreal. The whole thing was too much to take in."
The overwhelming success of Frampton Comes Alive! would haunt its creator into the decade that followed. "You can't repeat something like that album," Frampton says. "It'll drive you crazy. You have to let it go. You have to make peace with it."
Thirty-five years after its release, Frampton has come to embrace the double album which has virtually defined an era. "It is iconic," he says. "One doesn't plan on that - it's what happens after the fact. Even the title will be around long after I’m not. ‘Frampton Drops Dead!’ will be the headline everywhere. Hopefully, I’ll be able to laugh about it from beyond.”
Earlier this year, Frampton embarked on a tour to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Frampton Comes Alive! During the expansive show, he and his four-piece band play the legendary album from start to finish. The outing has proved so popular that he's continuing the run into 2012. The next leg of the tour hits the UK with these dates:
Manchester Bridgewater Hall - 11 November
Cambridge Corn Exchange - 12 November
London Hammersmith Apollo - 13 November
Birmingham Symphony Hall - 15 November
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall - 16 November
Tickets can be ordered by calling 08700 603 777. For further info, visit www.peterframpton.com.
On the following pages, Peter Frampton takes a track-by-track look at Frampton Comes Alive! - offering his thoughts on the songs as he wrote and recorded them, as well as what it feels like to play them now.
“Frampton Comes Alive! is the album I’ll always be remembered for," Frampton says. "I’m very proud of the music that’s on it. Why it exploded the way it did and continues to live on are things that can’t fully be explained. But I’m extremely grateful to have touched so many people’s lives with it – then and now. I’ve got kids coming to shows with their parents and grandparents, and everybody knows the record by heart. We have a fantastic time, too! You can’t complain about that.”