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35 Years Ago: Peter Frampton Almost Killed in Car Wreck

Universal Records

You know that old adage about bad things always happen in threes? Well you could say it victimized rocker Peter Frampton 35 years ago today, when the platinum-selling ’70s superstar was nearly killed in a car crash while in the Bahamas.

So, what were “bad things” one and two?

Just a couple of years earlier, Frampton had released what was then the biggest-selling live album of all time, 1976’s ‘Frampton Comes Alive,’ duly reaping some belated recognition for a relatively unheralded solo career following his departure from Humble Pie.

But even before the deafening roar of acclaim for the singer and guitarist’s underrated talents had started to abate, critics and all-purpose haters were already tearing down Frampton. The first major assault involved a shirtless photo on the cover of Rolling Stone, which, crazy as it may seem now, stoked many cynics to label Frampton a shallow teen idol, even though he had been earning his rock rep onstage almost every single night for the past several years.

It’s far more difficult to defend the second assault, which virtually cemented the perception that he was no more than an empty pop star: Frampton’s ill-fated alignment with disco ambassadors the Bee Gees in the justifiably maligned movie version of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’

And while the subsequent commercial disappointment of Frampton’s next album, ‘I’m in You’ (which still went platinum, by the way), accelerated his fall from grace, it had nothing on the car accident as Frampton’s third unlucky strike. Reports of the day claim that he could have been killed, so perhaps he was fortunate to survive with the broken arm, cracked ribs and multiple bruises he walked away with.

After a lengthy recovery period, Frampton resumed his career and released ‘Where I Should Be’ in 1979. He never again enjoyed the massive success that ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ brought him, but he’s no doubt grateful to still be alive and kicking.

Next: 'Show Me the Way' - Top 100 Classic Rock Songs

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