Peter Frampton's Teen-Idol Pop Group the Herd
Somewhat of a rock prodigy, Frampton got his start at age 12 in the early Sixties playing in a band called the Little Ravens at Bromley Technical School, where his father taught art to fellow student David Bowie. After a brief stint in a group called the Trubeats, he played in a band called the Preachers, produced and managed by Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. But by 1965 he set his sights on a local group called the Herd, who had a large local fan base and a handful of unsuccessful Parlophone singles under their belt. "I used to come see them play when I was aged 15, way before I joined," Frampton said in a 2006 interview. "They were the number one beat group in West Wickham and I got to know them by being the precocious pest that hung around saying, 'I can play guitar.'" When vocalist Terry Clark left the following year, they invited him to join. Frampton eagerly accepted, much to the chagrin of his parents, who, in a tale as old as time, urged him to pursue his college studies.
Early in Frampton's tenure, the band hired the songwriting partnership Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, who had penned a succession of hits for the British pop collective Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. The duo provided the Herd with a selection of heavily orchestrated, high concept singles steeped in sanitized flower power. In August 1967, the band scored a hit with "From the Underworld," perhaps the first chart entry inspired by the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice.
The song's commercial success was a mixed blessing, publically casting them as a bubblegum band unworthy of serious consideration in rock's coterie of cool. "Ken and Alan were wonderful songwriters. They helped us get a record deal and we weren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. But it wasn't everything that we wished for," Frampton said. "We were a much more musical outfit and yet we were becoming a pop group." Frampton's status as "The Face of '68" in the trade rag Disc rankled many in the band, who resented that the singer's good looks were eclipsing the music. They continued to release a string of singles – including 1968's excellent uptempo gem "I Don't Want Our Loving to Die" – and a full-length album, but the failure of the self-penned "Sunshine Cottage" further soured Frampton on the group. Frustrated by his unwanted journey into teen-idol–dom, he left the band by the end of 1968 to form an altogether harder outfit, Humble Pie, with Steve Marriott.