1970s rock icon Peter Frampton has been reunited with his favorite guitar after 30 years. He thought it had burned up in a plane crash, but it hadn’t.
It’s not just any guitar. It’s the guitar he used at the height of his fame, first with the group Humble Pie, but later on his multi-zirconium selling album Frampton Comes Alive! That means if you were alive during the 1970s, you almost certainly heard Peter Frampton playing this same guitar, a 1954 Gibson Les Paul.
Because you couldn’t go forty feet out in public without hearing songs from that album, especially that wacky “Do You Feel Like We Do.” That’s the song with the guitar “talk box,” a sound that apparently went on to become Auto-Tune so that guys like Li’l Wayne could have careers.
Frampton has called it “the best guitar I ever played.” He got it as a loaner in 1970, from a guy named Mark Mariana. Frampton was playing with Humple Pie in San Francisco, and Mariana loaned him the guitar. Frampton liked it so much, Mariana gave it to him.
Frampton used it on his best-selling album — one of the most popular live albums of all time — as well as in sessions with Harry Nilsson and George Harrison.
In November of 1980, Peter Frampton’s cargo was destroyed in a crash as a plane was leaving Venezuela for Panama. The guitar was considered gone, but it turns out it was salvaged.
Through a very strange sequence of events that includes a good dose of serendipity, the guitar was purchased with public funds by the tourist board of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. Read all the details here, in this story from the New York Times.
The guitar was then returned to Peter Frampton in Nashville, where it’s being repaired for some minor problems.