“If Les were still alive, I have no doubt that he and Peter would be experimenting": Frampton to receive Les Paul award

 Peter Frampton performing in 2022.
Peter Frampton performing in 2022.

Peter Frampton is to receive this year’s Les Paul Spirit Award, which is awarded by the Les Paul Foundation, in association with Gibson Gives, the philanthropic arm of Gibson.

I know he exemplifies everything Les was about and wanted to accomplish

The annual award is presented to an individual who ‘exemplifies’ the spirit of the great man through “innovation, engineering, technology and/or music.” Frampton will be in good company - previous winners have included Nile Rodgers, Bob Weir and The Edge.

The actual award is made out of hand-carved acoustic boards built by Paul that he used in his home studio – thus no two awards are identical. Frampton will be presented with his at a private event on June 9th in Nashville, on what would have been Paul’s 109th birthday. As well as the award, a grant from the Les Paul Foundation will be given to the charity of Frampton’s choice.

“I cannot think of anyone more fitting to be honoured with this year’s Les Paul Spirit Award than Peter Frampton,” said Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of The Les Paul Foundation. “Not only is he an extraordinary talent who has given us an amazing array of extraordinary music, but he is an innovator who understands music, technologies, and the spirit of Les Paul.”

“If Les were still alive today, I have absolutely no doubt that he and Peter would be experimenting together at Les’ house. I am personally thrilled to be able to present Peter with this award because I know he exemplifies everything Les was about and wanted to accomplish.”

After spells in the Herd and alongside Steve Marriott in Humble Pie, Frampton shot to fame in the mid 1970s with his double live album Frampton Comes Alive, which went eight times platinum in the US alone and spawned major hit singles in Baby I Love Your Way and Show Me The Way. His use of the talk box device, particularly on the latter, was groundbreaking – no-one had made the guitar sound quite like that before.

In 2019 Frampton was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis (IBM), a progressive condition that causes muscles to deteriorate and weaken over time. He was supposed to have undertaken a ‘farewell’ tour in 2020, which was postponed due to Covid. He’s still out there writing and performing and indeed 2024 is shaping up to be a busy year for him.

He contributed guitar to Mark Knopfler’s recent re-recording of Going Home: The Theme From Local Hero for the Teenage Cancer Trust and in addition to the Les Paul Award, is due to be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame later this year.