Just four months before the live album that made him a superstar was released, Peter Frampton gave television viewers a hint of what was to come

Peter Frampton
(Image credit: The Midnight Special)

In the fall of 1975, Peter Frampton's star was on the rise. On tour to support that year's Frampton albumthe one with Show Me The Way and Baby I Love Your Way on he'd record shows in San Francisco, New York and Plattsburgh to compile Frampton Comes Alive, the album that would change his life when it was released early the following year.

In early September, between a festival date at the Ohio River Jam with Ambrosia, Black Oak Arkansas, Ruby Starr and The J. Geils Band, and a support slot with Black Sabbath and Lynyrd Skynyrd in San Bernardino, Frampton ventured to the studios of The Midnight Special in Burbank to make his first appearance on the show. 

The episode was hosted by Helen Reddy, and joining Frampton in the studio were folk singer Hoyt Axton, Frank Valli, and KC and the Sunshine Band. The former Humble Pie guitarist played three songs from Frampton: (I'll Give You) Money, Nowhere's Too Far (For My Baby) and Baby I Love Your Way, and the latter performance has just been added to The Midnight Special's ever-growing and ever-excellent YouTube channel.    

It's a lovely clip. The song is beautiful, Frampton's band are on point, and the singer's youthful demeanour and sweet voice are clearly suited to the small screen. It's not hard to see why his likeness would soon be postered on bedroom walls across the nation.

Four months later, after a second appearance on The Midnight Special, in December, Frampton Comes Alive was released. It eventually spent 97 weeks on the US Billboard chart, 10 of them at No.1.

"That level of success took some getting used to," Frampton told Classic Rock in 2022. "There was one week where we sold a million copies. I was really excited at first." 

Eventually Frampton got the call that the album had broken a sales record set by Carole King's Tapestry, and things changed again. "That’s when I got scared," he said. "Because I now realise I have to follow up a live record that is not just a hit, but the biggest record of all time." 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.