With his skin-tight pants and unbuttoned shirts, Peter Frampton was the ultimate sexy rock star of the 1970s. "I started playing when I was 8, and that was it," he says. "I became totally obsessed with guitar playing."
After playing with the bands Humble Pie and the Herd, Peter went solo in 1971. His landmark 1976 record, Frampton Comes Alive, remains one of the best-selling live albums of all time.
At the height of his stardom, the Grammy winner lived a rock 'n' roll lifestyle complete with private jets, hot girls and wild parties. "It was an exciting period beyond belief," he says. "Superlatives of excitement and incredible loneliness at the same time."
To cope, Peter turned to drugs and alcohol. He battled addiction for 20 years. "I made a lot of mistakes in my career. But the one thing that's underneath everything is my passion for music, and I kept going and I kept going and I kept going."
Today, Peter is a clean and sober married father of four who calls Cincinnati, Ohio, home. At 60 years old, he's still rocking to sold-out crowds around the world.
Before taping his official appearance on Oprah's stage, Peter conspired with Oprah Show producers to rock one Harpo staffer's world. Executive producer and die-hard Frampton fan Sheri Salata has masterminded many surprises over the years. What she didn't know was that producers had a top-secret plan to make one of her teen dreams come true.
Every Monday morning, Sheri leads a Harpo staff meeting to discuss plans for the shows taping that week. The Monday before Peter was scheduled to tape, Sheri brought the show's producers to the stage as usual.
As Peter hides behind the stage, show producers Tara and Leslie go for the fake-out. They ask the rest of the staff to help them decide what Peter should perform. "Peter really, really, really wants to sing 'Show Me the Way,'" Tara says. "But Sheri really wants him to sing ['Baby , I Love Your Way'], so we just want to take a vote."
They play snippets of "Show Me the Way" as Sheri shakes her head no. Then, the soft sounds of "Baby, I Love Your Way" fill the studio and Peter walks out playing it live on his guitar—right behind Sheri.
When she turns around, Sheri gets the shock of her life, her teen idol crooning, "Ooh, Sheri, I love your way."
Today, Peter considers himself a musician—not a rock star. "The crazy times of being a rock star, it's pretty surreal and it's really not realistic," he says.
Still, Peter says it's still a high to see a crowd of fans singing along at his concerts. "The fact that it still happens this many years after I first started is still amazing," he says. "But I always get nervous. The day I don't get nervous before a show, it's time to hang it up, you know, because it's so important to me."
But Peter's not ready to retire yet. "I don't even know how to spell the 'R-word,'" he says.
To keep going, Peter says he's following comedian George Burns' example. "He booked his 100th birthday party. He'd booked at the London Palladium to perform, and that's what kept him going. He made it to 100, [but] he just couldn't quite make the trip [to London]," he says. "As far as I'm concerned, I want to book Madison Square Garden for my 100th."