Peter Frampton was once the biggest rock star in the world. When his double album Frampton Comes Alive wedged its way permanently into the culture in 1976, nobody was bigger than Frampton. Not the Stones, not Dylan, not disco — nobody. And then Peter Frampton — a guitar hero of the first order — proceeded to behave like the biggest rock star in the world. And it didn’t work out great. He played Sgt. Pepper in a poorly received movie and lost his way with questionable artistic decisions and risky behavior. When Frampton finally emerged from his troubles, it was too late to regain the prominence he once had as a solo artist. But one friend was waiting for him: David Bowie.
Frampton’s father had been Bowie’s art teacher at the Bromley Technical School in London. As a student Peter Frampton met Bowie, who was a few years older, through his teacher dad. Later after Frampton’s troubles, Bowie invited Frampton to join his band in the 1980s and tour with him when no one else wanted to hire the erstwhile star. Bowie wasn’t just being generous; the move was in his self-interest too. Bowie knew something special about Frampton that others had forgotten. Bowie knew Frampton was a helluva guitar player. Of Bowie’s act — typically both astute and kind — Frampton has said, “I can never thank him enough for believing in me.”
Frampton and Bowie in 1987: