Peter Frampton Openly Details Feeling Threatened by Early Success: “Scared the S–t Out of Me”

Peter Frampton may be a household name now, but there was a time that the singer and guitarist was searching for his big break. Frampton was part of bands The Herd and Humble Pie, but his album Frampton Comes Alive! took Frampton to a new level.

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However, that terrified Frampton. Speaking on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast, Frampton said he felt overwhelmed by the album’s success. He said he was unprepared for how successful the album would become. His manager Dee Anthony ultimately gave him the news.

“Dee made two phone calls to me,” Frampton said. “One, I was totally ecstatic about and the second one scared the s–t out of me.”

Frampton felt overjoyed that the album reached No. 1. However, Frampton realized his success didn’t stop there. He said, “Then it seemed like the next day — but I’m sure it was a couple of months later — he called me again and said, you’ve just broken Carol King’s Tapestry sales record. You’re now the biggest ever selling record in America and Canada.”

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Peter Frampton Felt Pressure

Frampton felt pressured by the news. He realized that he would have to try to top his success. Suddenly, the entire country had their eyes and ears trained on him.

“The pit of my stomach just fell out,” Frampton said. “I didn’t want to know that. I didn’t want to be the biggest — I would have preferred it was at number two. I’d have preferred that it didn’t sell as much as Tapestry because now the spotlight is on me. Like myself, I’m putting the spotlight on me. It’s now made it so much more difficult to come up with another album. I did not want to.”

Frampton wanted to take some time to craft an album that could compete with his current success. However, the studio pressured Frampton to capitalize on the current hot streak he had.

“The Eagles don’t dash into the studio every five minutes,” Frampton said. “They’ve had a handful of studio records as opposed to what you think they’ve had, but they don’t go near the studio until they’ve got you know, ten number one hits because the reason is they can’t stand each other, so they better have some good music to go in there.”

Ultimately, he released You just a year later in 1977. The album initially performed before sinking like the Titanic.

“I went against my gut,” Frampton continued. “It [was] horrible…. I’ve got to be honest: It’s not as if I didn’t know that was going to happen, because I didn’t like what I just put out.”

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[Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM]

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