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Lessons Learned From Peter Frampton

Many people associate Peter Frampton with his immensely popular, "Frampton Comes Alive". I think of him as a survivor with some valuable lessons we can all learn from. Yes, his 1976 double live album is one of the best selling albums of all time. He was 26 years-old at the time—he's 71 now. In between that time a lot went wrong, but he just kept plugging away and continued on with his career—thanks in part to the help of his friends.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE: David Bowie was a classmate and even though Bowie was older, the two became friends. When Frampton fell on hard times Bowie invited his friend to play on his album and join his tour. (Frampton is an underrated lead guitarist.) Other friends also hired him to play or tour with them giving him a lifeline and exposure.

ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN: After being the biggest rock star in the world in the mid-seventies, Frampton's next album did not sell well. Next, Frampton starred in the film, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and critics were not kind. He would never again achieve fame and fortune, but he still made music and eventually won critical acclaim for his career.

"IT" HAPPENS: While in the Bahamas, Frampton was in a near-fatal car crash and was in recovery for over a year. He and his wife divorced and later he was sued for half of his royalties by his girlfriend. A cargo plane carrying his beloved Les Paul guitar and other equipment crashed and burned. He was set to record and tour with Steve Marriott, but a house fire killed his friend and mentor before they hit the road.

Still, he soldiered on and was a guitarist for hire, recorded records even though they didn't chart or sell, toured as an opening act for others, and promoted instructional software for new guitarists. He's a survivor and was willing to do whatever he had to (often swallowing his pride) to continue to make a living in music.

Maybe we haven't recorded a record that sold 17 million copies or filled stadiums with people who want to see us perform, but would we be willing to do whatever it took to follow our dreams—even if it meant having to have a demeaning day job? Would we keep going when we were told we didn't have what it takes anymore?

To put a kind of sad note on the ending of this article, Frampton found out he has a degenerative muscle disease that won't allow him to play guitar much longer. So in true Frampton form he set out on a farewell tour.

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