I had the good fortune to see Peter Frampton at the Kinetic Playground a famous nightclub on Chicago’s north side. The year was 1973 and Frampton, still a relative unknown, had just released the album Frampton’s Camel. He shared the stage that night along with The J. Giles Band who opened the show for psychedelic band King Crimson.
Frampton, who was rather clean cut, with long hair and sparkling costumes had a unique sound compared to the other bands that were emerging at the time.
Frampton employed a new sound that had not been used in rock music. The talk box, a synthesizer type device combines the sound of the guitar with the voice of the singer.
He pumped the electric guitar into the talk box, then used a modulator fed by a plastic tube to change the sound of his voice and his guitar at the same time. It produced a sound that gave you the impression that the guitar was singing.
Show Me The Way, released in 1976, was one of Frampton’s biggest hits. The song reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2016, Frampton was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, he has yet to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame an oversight I hope will be soon corrected.
In 2019, Frampton announced he will be retiring from touring after being diagnosed with a progressive muscle disorder that no longer allows him to play guitar.
Even though he will not be performing any longer Peter Frampton’s music will live on.