Back in 2020, musician Peter Frampton reflected on a nearly catastrophic incident involving none other than David Bowie. Their initial meeting took place during their school days in Bromley, and the friendship eventually led the two into a collaboration during Bowie's 1987 Glass Spider global tour and album.
Smoke in the cabin
The pair encountered a potentially life-threatening situation during their travels for the tour. As many celebrities do, Bowie and Frampton utilized private jets to get around during the tour, but one leg of their journey took a perilous turn.
Just as they were about to take off, the cabin started filling with smoke. Bowie quickly spotted the smoke seeping from the cabin's vents and swiftly raised an alarm, exclaiming, "Smoke! Smoke!" The pilot promptly halted the aircraft, and a flight attendant activated the rear stairway.
Bowie's genuine concern for Frampton's well-being became evident. Despite the urgency of the situation, Frampton said that it became apparent that Bowie's priority was not his own escape but rather ensuring Frampton's safety. Without hesitation, Frampton recalled, Bowie physically lifted him from his seat and guided him down the emergency chute.
"I'm seated and Dave literally lifts me out of my seat and guides me down the chute. That memory will always stay with me. He could have rushed out himself, but his concern was my well-being. That's the kind of person he was to me, and in general. He was a truly wonderful individual."
Frampton said that the incident speaks volumes about the depth of their friendship and the sort of person Bowie was. Amidst the chaos and potential danger, Bowie's immediate instinct was to safeguard his friend and collaborator. Frampton's poignant recollection sheds light on Bowie's willingness to prioritize the safety and well-being of others over his own, emphasizing his character and the special bond they shared.
Touring as friends
Frampton also elaborated on how Bowie personally selected him to play the guitar for the Glass Spider tour and album. The gesture held great significance for Frampton, as it marked a revival in his career. Despite prior successes, including the massively popular "Frampton Comes Alive!" album, Frampton faced a downturn in his fortunes around 1976 when, Frampton said, he hit rock bottom. According to Frampton, Bowie's invitation to participate in the Glass Spider project injected new energy into his career and positioned him for several later successes.
“David saw I’d become this fallen pop idol. So what could he do for me? Take me around the world and reintroduce me as a musician.”
The story of Bowie and Frampton's travels provides a unique perspective on the iconic musician. It illuminates the artist's compassion and bravery but also adds a personal dimension to David Bowie's legacy. It stands as a good reminder of how moments of crisis can unveil individuals' true colors, and, in this instance, it shines a light on the profound connection between two friends who weathered both triumphs and challenges together.
What other celebrities avoided aviation-related disasters? Let us know in the comments below.