Certain Songs #1538: Peter Frampton – “Do You Feel Like We Do? (Live)”

Album: Frampton Comes Alive!
Year: 1976

. . .

The popularity of most the biggest artists of the 1970s still makes sense today. Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, Donna Summer, Fleetwood Mac, the Bee Gees, hell even Kiss are understandable. You can see why they were big in the 1970s, especially since the music still resonates all these years later.

(Audience cheers)

Not so much Frampton Comes Alive!, which totally and owned 1976. Not only was it the best-selling album of that year, it was #1 for 10 weeks, over a period of six months — starting in April and ending in October — where it would get knocked off for a couple of weeks or even months at a time, but eventually claim the top spot until Songs in the Key of Life finally knocked it from the top spot for good.

(Audience cheers)

If you weren’t paying attention to popular music back then — like for example, you weren’t even born yet — and you’ve heard the singles from Frampton Comes Alive!, you’re probably wondering why pedestrian songs like “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and “Show Me The Way” were such big hits, and why album tracks like his lumbering version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Do You Feel Like We Do?” were FM radio staples.

(Audience cheers)

Well, I was paying attention to popular music as a 13-year-old in 1976, and I’m here to tell you that I have no fucking idea, either. I never bought Frampton Comes Alive!: there was no need to when Craig from across the street had it, and it was on the radio every five seconds.

(Audience cheers)

This isn’t to diss Frampton, who had played guitar with ex-Small Face Steve Marriott in Humble Pie prior to his solo career, so it wasn’t like he came out of nowhere, regardless of what you thought about Humble Pie. Frampton was a good guitar player — though as both a singer and a songwriter, he was a good guitar player — and from what I can tell, handled both his stratospheric rise and meteoric fall with aplomb.

(Audience cheers)

So I guess blame some of it on that fucking talkbox, and the schoolyard rumour surrounding “Do You Feel Like We Do?” which no doubt contributed to some of the radio play and record sales. Once again, if you’re of a certain age, you know exactly what I’m talking about: maybe after “Louie Louie,” the second-greatest misheard dirty word in all of rock ‘n’ roll history.

(Audience cheers)

After about four minutes of verse-chorus, “Do You Feel Like We Do?” breaks down to basically just bass guitar, kick drum and hi-hat — not even a snare, allowing keyboardist Bob Mayo (who Frampton pronounces “Bob Mayer,” cracking up those of us who didn’t fully understand English accents) to take a long noodly solo, after which Frampton takes his own noodly solo.

(Audience cheers)

Then at at the 7-minute mark, he plugs in the fucking talkbox, and gets to work. For those of you who don’t know, a fucking talkbox was basically a huge plastic tube you’d stick in your mouth and suddenly what you were vocalizing and what you were playing with the guitar were kinda intermingled. Or something like that. It was kinda cool, at first, and used to great effect on the very first song I ever wrote about for this project, “Sweet Emotion.”

(Audience cheers)

And in this case, the crowd ate it up. There was fucking loud cheering at every single phrase. Over and over, massive cheers, during all of it: the long piano solo, the long guitar solo, and the long long long fucking talkbox solo, which went on for fucking ever, with the audience losing their mind every two seconds.

(Audience cheers)

Unless, of course, all of that audience nuttiness was grafted on later, which I think I read somewhere, but can’t source right now.

(Audience cheers)

Anyways, about a minute into the long long long fucking talkbox solo, Peter Frampton sings/plays “I want to fuck you.” Which is what everybody under 20 heard. And for some reason, it was like this cool secret that the adults who ran the radio stations and records didn’t know about: that you could hear this song where a dude in a robot voice obviously said “I want to fuck you.” It was just like a couple of years later when my friend George worked at Radio Shack and they had these computers or something where you could type in a word and a robotic voice would say that word, and every word we ever typed into that thing was like “fuck” and “shit” and “dick.”

(Audience cheers)

Because we were, quite literally, teenage boys.

(Audience cheers)

But of course, the official story was that wasn’t what he said at all: nope, the whitewashers of our culture have always maintained that the actual phrase was “I want to thank you,” which isn’t nearly as much fun on any level, and even though I’m sure it’s the truth, I don’t care.

(Audience cheers)

In any event, after decades of the talkbox solo, “Do You Feel Like We Do?” finally finally kicks back into gear with a cyborg “WHOOOOOOAAAAAA” followed by an actually great and moving guitar solo which I thought was so good that I gave up large chunks of 1976 listening to the first 11 minutes of “Do You Feel Like We Do?” on the radio or at Craig’s house to get to it.

(Audience cheers)

After the insane success of “Do You Feel Like We Do?” Frampton made the minor misstep of recording a soft-rock album, I’m in You, and the major misstep of starring as Billy Shears in the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band film. After that, it was straight to the “Where are They Now?” file, though he continues to tour and release records to this day.

(Audience cheers)

“Do You Feel Like We Do? (Live)”

“Do You Feel Like We Do?” performed live in the Midnight Special, 1975

“Do You Feel Like We Do?” live at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium, 1977

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One Response to “Certain Songs #1538: Peter Frampton – “Do You Feel Like We Do? (Live)””

  1. russell g frost says:

    Maybe it’s the difference of two years in age. Maybe it’s just as simple a matter as difference in viewpoint but wow, you totally missed on this one.

    The follow ups to LIVE were the result of carefully crafted record label mediocrity. Did Frampton have to do them? Hell no. Especially after LIVE but that’s what most artists did and still do, what the record company wants. And let’s be honest, post LIVE Frampton wasn’t a complete departure from pre LIVE Frampton.

    It’s a shame that you don’t feel this one because it’s one of the greats for Frampton and from that era. It’s one of my all time favorites and it’s about translating the live feel and experience to a recording, something which Frampton did as well most anyone else ever have (eleventy billion people can’t be wrong, right?). That’s the success of Frampton Comes Alive, for the people who weren’t at the show but listen the album, it can pretty great experience.

    (insert something about Bob Seger’s Live Bullet which came out just a few months after Frampton Comes Alive…)

    Love this song. Still do. Every. Damn. Time. Sure, maybe it’s connected to childhood memories and such. Frankly, I’ll own it. I don’t care. I still love this record and this song, most of all. It’s an outstanding performance and, as importantly, it was one of the few live albums that was better than all the studio before it (and after it, ok).

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