Why Peter Frampton’s ‘I’m in You’ Was Doomed to Fail

Peter Frampton became an overnight sensation with the release of 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive! But when the young rocker hit the studio to record its follow-up, I’m in You, he had nowhere to go but down.

After establishing himself in the psychedelic pop-rock band the Herd and blues-rock supergroup Humble Pie, Frampton embarked on a solo career in the early ’70s, releasing several albums and touring relentlessly before finally getting his break with Frampton Comes Alive! The double live LP sold 8 million copies in the U.S. and cemented his identity as a loud, raucous rock ‘n’ roller.

There was no time for Frampton to bask in his newfound celebrity, as A&M Records clamored for a follow-up to Frampton Comes Alive! The pressure to follow up his blockbuster live album and prove himself as a studio artist was daunting. To make matters worse, as the dashing guitarist’s stardom grew, his perception also changed from credible rock star to heartthrob teen idol.

This shift was immediately apparent on I’m in You, whose cover features Frampton sitting in an unbuttoned shirt and giving a sultry look to the camera, while its title track and lead single is a tender piano ballad. It was a deliberate attempt to further endear Frampton to a pop audience — and it sort of worked.

I’m in You peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and quickly went platinum, and its title track hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. But the album drastically undersold expectations, and Frampton’s new pinup model status alienated his rock fans and supporters on FM radio. His career received another death blow when he starred in 1978’s critically reviled Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band movie, beginning a decade-long commercial tailspin.

Watch the video below to learn more about Frampton’s I’m in You, and tune into our “Doomed to Fail?” video series each week as we dust off ill-fated classic rock albums and determine whether they’re hidden gems or better left forgotten.

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