This Is How David Bowie Saved Peter Frampton's Life

A long time ago, back before Marvel managed to laser-hone the art of the extended universe, people had to make due with real world celebrities going on occasional adventures together. It wasn't as exciting — Mister T spent Christmas with Nancy Reagan one time, and Keith Richards got punched in the face by Chuck Berry. Richard Nixon teamed up with a guy dressed as Robocop. You took what you could get.

And in 1987, one of pop culture's greatest icons saved Peter Frampton, a man who made his guitar sound like it could talk.

The story, recounted by the Daily Mirror, goes like this: Frampton had been hired to perform with David Bowie during his six month international Glass Spider Tour, a hyper theatrical stadium-filling extravaganza. The musicians and crew flew on private planes from location to location, beginning in May and wrapping up at the end of November. The whole endeavor nearly went up in flames a few times, once or twice very literally.

Bowie acts fast under pressure

The way Frampton told it, he and Bowie were sitting on one of the tour planes getting ready to take off when smoke started coming out of the vents ... Dave stands up and goes, 'Smoke! Smoke!' So the pilot stops and the flight attendant pulls the back stairway down. I'm in my seat and Dave literally lifts me out of my seat and carries me down the chute. I'll never forget that. He could have run out, but he wanted to make sure I was okay. That was the kind of guy he was with me, and in general. He was a lovely man."

If the idea of the Thin White Duke and his beautiful eyes lifting a grown man and carrying him to safety seems surreal, the rest of the tour just gets weirder. One story from the LA Times claims that Bowie fans were riled up enough to start rioting, with David singing through teargas on one occasion. Another story goes that an Italian police chief grounded the rock star's plane with a fake bomb threat just to get his autograph. That's showbiz for you.