Ahhhh, Peter Frampton.
I will admit that recently, I have enjoyed seeing Peter on the “Talkbox” in the Geico Commercial:
And, while I immediately recognized Do You Feel Like We Do, it didn’t really register as nothing more than a “blast from the past”. That, and I was incredulous as to where all of his lovely curls went to. Seeing a gray-haired Peter Frampton, I immediately looked him up on Wikipedia and saw that he is actually turning 58 this year. Say it ain’t so…wow.
A few days ago, I was bustling around town on my way to pick up the youngen from soccer practice and I happened to be listening to one of the plethora of “classic rock” stations along the Gulf Coast. As an aside, classic rock stations are more plentiful than country or pop stations around here, so radio is not as disappointing. As I was making my way through traffic and sitting at a red light, impatiently waiting to turn left, the familiar bass lines of Do You Feel Like We Do came through the speakers.
The musical imprint of this song, in it’s entirety was so strong in that few minutes that it left me speechless. In a split second, I was transported back to the summer of 1976 and my first real foray into love. I had met a guy from the neighboring town, at the ball park where I spent virtually every waking hour during the summer. You see, I was an elite softball player (second base) and I loved it so much that the ballpark was like my church. My parents hated that I loved playing ball so much, which at 13 made it even more appealing.
During that summer is when I met Marty. Marty was a baseball player and also hung out at the park quite a bit. He lived not very far and could ride his bike there. Between games and during tournaments, we began hanging out and talking. He was the first boy who ever really listened and cared about what I had to say. Besides, he was fine. Long, dirty blond hair, muscular and he had just a little bit of a chipped tooth that to my 13 year old eyes, was heavenly. He asked me out, I said yes, and the phone calls started.
Now, I’ve never been much of a “phone talker”, but I enjoyed my phone calls with Marty. He would call and then play music for me that he liked. We never really had a lot of conversation but we did have a lot of communication — through music. Before Marty, my musical world had mainly been made up of England Dan & John Ford Coley, Barry Manilow and Seals & Crofts. I recently had ventured out into the land of The Eagles and Hall & Oates and You Sexy Thing and Afternoon Delight were my current favorite songs. I had really never heard of Lynyrd Skynyrd or The Allman Brothers (other than Cher married Greg and had Elijah Blue) and “rock” bands were for “the heads”.
However, that pubescent summer, Marty took me down a varied musical path. The first stop was Peter Frampton and the Frampton Comes Alive album. Over the phone, Marty played Do You Feel Like We Do. I can still remember sitting in the hall at my parents house and laying on the floor listening to Frampton sing through the Talk Box and thinking that it was THE coolest thing I had ever heard. Marty was kind and caring and explained to me that Frampton was not saying what I thought he was saying in one part of the song…”No, he’s saying ‘I want to THANK you.’ “, Marty corrected.
Alas, Marty ended up being just a summer romance. He went to a different middle school in the next town and though we would later go to the same high school, it seemed that eons had passed between the time we had spent those wonderful nights on the phone exploring music to when we awkwardly met up early on in our Freshman year. We’d smile and make small talk, but somehow we both knew that we couldn’t recapture what we had.
I don’t know what exactly happened to Marty. We didn’t run in the same crowd in high school and it’s been over 25 years since high school. All I know is that when I heard that full version of Do You Feel Like We Do the other day, I could see Marty’s face so clearly. A young, sweet boy who anxiously and deftly escorted a young music maven into the world of rock and roll.
Like Peter Frampton, even though we’re all a little older now, we still rock.
ETA: Here’s a little perspective on Peter Frampton and Frampton Comes Alive! This album was the top-selling album of 1976, out-selling Fleetwood Mac’s hallmark debut album, Fleetwood Mac. It is the 4th best-selling album of all-time, selling 6 million domestically and 16 million internationally. The only albums to out-sell this one were: 3rd — Eagles Live!; 2nd — Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 1975-85; 1st — Garth Brooks Double Live.
Peter Frampton was a technical advisor on Almost Famous for his input on the band Humble Pie, of which he became a member — at age 18.
Natural Born Boogie — Humble Pie
He was also a member of The Herd, at age 15….
I Don’t Want Our Lovin’ to Die — The Herd
Peter Frampton has been playing professionally since he was 10 years old and his rock pedigree is long. Therefore, he shall be forgiven for the debacle that was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.