Story by Manos Angelakis
Photos courtesy of Denise Medve
Peter Frampton at bergenPAC
It was a long, long time ago in a universe far, far away!
Though the fog of time may have clouded many details, I still remember the expert guitar work of a group that included Peter Frampton, performing at “The Retreat” a bar and pop music venue on Old Brompton Road in London. It was the very late 50s/early 60s, and American pop music was on the British airwaves; mostly songs by Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and of course Elvis. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were already around but had still to fully develop their unique styles.
“A Teenager in Love” topped the UK charts three times in 1959. A couple years later Dion’s “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer” were also topping charts in the UK, Italy and Greece – though by that time Domenico Modugno had already made a name for himself in Italy with “Nel blu dipinto di blu” also known as “Volare”. A massive hit -- No.1 in the US, No.5 in the UK -- was "Tequila!" by the Champs, fronted by Danny Flores who played the song’s wild sax.
At the time, the group that Peter Frampton belonged to was doing mostly American rock ’n’ roll covers in their appearances but Peter’s electric guitar playing expertise was what was pulling the crowds in. By the late 60s Peter had formed and headed “The Herd” and later on joined with Steve Marriott, Jerry Shirley and Greg Ridley to establish the seminal British rock group “Humble Pie”.
Roll forward, 55 years later, and a few weeks ago I saw Peter at the Bergen Performing Arts Center as part of a tour called “Peter Frampton Raw”. He might be gray -- just like most of his fans -- but he is still a master acoustic guitar player and a wonderfully electric story teller. His son, Julian Frampton, opened the set and his voice was young and vibrant; his guitar playing was almost as exciting as his father’s, when Peter was his age. Gordon Kennedy, Frampton’s longtime collaborator joined him on the stage as a special guest. Peter played and sung and chatted as if he was in the living room of his home, and the audience was spellbound.
I miss the wild, electric-guitar strumming Frampton of the 70s but I enjoyed the “acoustic” Frampton very much. I’m still a fan!
Founded in 2003, the 1,367-seat Bergen Performing Arts Center, or bergenPAC, is the area’s cultural mecca. Housed in a historic Art Deco-style theater boasting one of the finest acoustic halls in the United States, bergenPAC attracts a stellar roster of world-class entertainment. The jewel in the crown is The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC the innovative, educational performing arts initiative that reaches more than 30,000 students annually. The Performing Arts School provides community youth, age 2 months to 21 years, with unique, hands-onâ€ training in music, dance and theater by industry professionals. It is through the ongoing generosity of sponsors, donors, members, and patrons that the not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation bergenPAC and The Performing Arts School are able to thrive and enrich our community.
For updates, “Like” bergenPAC on Facebook (facebook.com/#!/bergenpacfan), follow @bergenPAC on Twitter, follow on LinkedIn and visit the website at www.bergenpac.org.
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