“I’m gonna tell you a story
From the moment Peter Frampton’s iconic song, “Do You Feel Like We Do,” starts playing in this 1976 rockumentary,
its lyrics are as much of a central character as any. They illustrate what is at stake for each of the band members
– and by extension all those who listened to their music – in each decision they make. As Roger Daltrey sings in “My Generation”,
“We need your help because we’re out of time.” This film captures that sentiment perfectly –
seemingly from another era but with a wild energy that is uniquely us.
Why is it relevant to this blog?
This is the greatest rockumentary of all-time.
I would go as far as saying that it’s one of the five or ten greatest documentaries ever made and you should watch it,
especially because I’m going to explain why. I’m not even a huge Peter Frampton fan so why am I such an expert?
Because even if you aren’t a Peter Frampton fan and you’ve never heard of this movie,
the film is so great it’s worth watching just for the story alone.
And, yes, I know you all read my blog so no need to comment on my taste in music or movies.
Why is the story of Peter Frampton’s Music and Pop Culture of Frampton Comes Alive! so compelling?
The story is so compelling because it begins on a fight.
In 1976, Peter Frampton and Rick Nielsen go in a recording studio to record their first single together after leaving Humble Pie.
The two had been childhood friends, but things quickly turn sour at the studio.
At one point, Nielsen interrupts the recording session because he’s bored.
He plays power chords for no apparent reason and shows up late. He also refuses to participate in rehearsals for their live show,
even though he agreed to do so before he arrived at the studio.
When they finally meet up, they’re fighting and Nielsen decides to leave on the plane,
but his plane gets delayed and he ends up missing it. This is where the story begins, a fight with many consequences.
“You’re gonna tell a story and then you’re gonna tell this story of me.”
Daltrey puts it bluntly in “My Generation”.
He doesn’t want to end up in a world that’s based on whether or not he goes along with all the things other people think he should do,
no matter how insane those things are sometimes. That’s exactly why this movie takes place in 1976.
The world was changing rapidly, and we were all trying to find our place in it.
How would each of us adapt? Will we stick with the old systems or will we break out of them?
No one who makes this movie seems to know what’s going to happen next. It’s just a series of riddles as they each try to figure out their place in the world.
What are some other things I should note about Frampton Comes Alive! that make it so compelling?
The film is structured like a rockumentary, but it’s not just the story that makes it so compelling,
it’s also how everyone involved is presented. No one ever comes off as a villain. Everyone is just trying
to find their place in this world. Even the band members who hate each other are shown to be genuinely nice people though not especially close.
The humor throughout is also very charming. There’s several moments where I laughed out loud,
most of which involve Daltrey as the “showoff”. The way he delivers his lines from his character’s perspective makes them
so much funnier when you realize what he really thinks about everything he’s saying.
Frampton Comes Alive! is so compelling because it’s a documentary,
but Frampton seems like he could be the main character in any narrative movie.
His story is so compelling and there’s so much at stake for him throughout the film. what designated peter frampton’s frampton comes alive! a “big album”?
For example, after leaving Humble Pie,
he struggles to figure out whether or not he should do a solo album or create a band with Rick Nielsen and become an overnight sensation.
In fact, when asked what kind of band Frampton Comes Alive! will have at a press conference,
Frampton responds with “a 12 piece brass section. I don’t know why.” He’s clearly not sure.
After Frampton becomes a big success, he also struggles to figure out what kind of person he is going to be,
in part because he’s too busy for it. For example, when asked how he likes the band’s new album by his manager,
Frampton responds “Well, I haven’t listened to it. I may have to do that later.”