Peter Frampton to Become Inaugural Recipient of Les Paul Spirit Award

Peter Frampton to Become Inaugural Recipient of Les Paul Spirit Award

Peter Frampton will become the inaugural recipient of the Les Paul Spirit Award on Sunday, June 9, at a private event at the Gibson Garage Nashville. The event will take place on what would have been Paul’s 109th birthday.


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The annual award, in partnership with Gibson Gives, the philanthropic division of Gibson, is presented to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of the late Les Paul through innovation, engineering, technology and/or music. In addition to the award, a grant from the Les Paul Foundation will be made in the honoree’s name to the charity of his choice.

Frampton will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this year. His 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive! is one of the bestselling live albums in history. The double-disk album topped the Billboard 200 for 10 nonconsecutive weeks and spawned three major hits on the Billboard Hot 100 – “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel (Like We Do).” Frampton’s use of the talk box to create a human and guitar hybrid sound on the latter hit was considered groundbreaking.

Frampton Comes Alive! received a Grammy nod for album of the year. Thirty years later, Frampton’s Fingerprints won a Grammy for best pop instrumental album.

“I cannot think of anyone more fitting to be honored with this year’s Les Paul Spirit Award than Peter Frampton,” Michael Braunstein, executive director of The Les Paul Foundation, said in a statement. “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.” 

Paul, who died in 2009 at age 94, won Grammys for best instrumental performance in pop, rock and country categories, a sign of his broad influence. He received a trustees award from the Recording Academy in 1983 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early/musical influence in 1988. In addition to his innovations with the guitar, Paul was half of one of the top vocal duos of the 1950s. Les Paul and Mary Ford’s biggest hits were “How High the Moon” and “Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You).”

The Les Paul Spirit Award is made from hand-carved acoustic boards built by Paul that he used in his home studio. Given the unique nature of the studio pieces which are being used to create them, no two Les Paul Spirit Awards will be exactly the same.

Frampton, 74, was diagnosed with a degenerative muscle condition called inclusion body myositis in 2019. (According to Johns Hopkins, IBM “causes muscle weakness that may worsen over time and damage the muscles.”) He continues to write and perform.

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