“He exemplifies everything Les Paul was about and wanted to accomplish”: Peter Frampton to be honored with Les Paul Spirit Award

Peter Frampton performs onstage
(Image credit: John Lill)

Electric guitar hero Peter Frampton will be bestowed with the Les Paul Spirt Award at a ceremony at the Gibson Garage Nashville on June 9. 

The accolade, given out by the Les Paul Foundation in partnership with Gibson Gives – the company's philanthropic division – is given in recognition to those who share the life, spirit, and legacy of the late Les Paul. 

The Baby, I Love Your Way guitarist has been championed for “personifying the spirit of excellence through musicianship and industry recognition,” and joins a list of previous recipients that includes Nile Rodgers, The Edge, and Bob Weir.

The private event, which will take place on what would be Les Paul’s 109th birthday, also marks the third anniversary of the Gibson Garage in Nashville and comes one month after it was announced that Frampton would be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Les Paul (left), pictured with Peter Frampton

(Image credit: Les Paul Foundation)

A grant from the Foundation will also be made in Frampton’s name to a charity of his choice.

Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of The Les Paul Foundation, says he “cannot think of anyone more fitting to be honored with this year’s Les Paul Spirit Award than Peter Frampton.

“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. I am personally thrilled to be able to present Peter with this award because I know he exemplifies everything Les was about and wanted to accomplish.”

Frampton, who has 18 studio albums to his name from a career extending over half a century, has continually embraced innovation and technology, most notably bringing the talk box to popularity with huge hit singles like Do You Feel Like We Do and Show Me the Way.

His 1976 live album, Frampton Comes Alive!, has long been considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. It, like many of his shows, concluded with a performance of Do You Feel Like We Do, a track that Frampton told Guitar Player was “the ultimate capper to a concert.”

Away from the legacy of his discography, Frampton’s playing has inspired generations of guitarists, including Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, who used the talk box to write the band's mid-'80s mega-hit, Livin’ On A Prayer

The guitarist let Guitar Player inside his sizable gear vault back in 2021, having become a Gibson signature artist with his Phenix Les Paul model, which was a wider reissue of the ultra-limited-edition 2015 replica of Frampton's iconic, triple-humbucker Black Beauty

In a further nod to Les Paul’s legacy, the physical award is hand-carved from acoustic boards built by the luthier, which he used in his home studio. This means that no two awards are the same, with Frampton set to add the award to a growing collection that includes a Grammy win for his 2006 album, Fingerprints. 

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.