Robert Palmer

  • British singer, songwriter, musician, born in 1949 in Batley, Yorkshire, England. Died in 2003 of a heart attack.
  • As a child, Palmer listened to blues, soul and jazz music, which influenced his later style. At 15 years old, he joined his first band, The Mandrakes. He proceeded to perform with The Alan Bown Set, then the jazz/rock band Dada, and at 22 years old, he joined the soul/rock band Vinegar Joe. He played lead guitar and shared vocals in the band, and 3 albums were released before the band broke up in 1974. After that, he signed a solo recording deal.
  • His first 3 albums, released in 1974, 1975 and 1976, were mild successes – he first broke into the Hot 100 chart with 1976 with Man Smart, Woman Smarter, a calypso song originally from the 30s. He had greater success with his next 2 albums – Double Fun and Secrets. Each album had a song reach the top 20 – Every Kinda People and Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor). These songs established Palmer as a rock star.
  • His first albums in the 80s were less successful, with a few minor hits. In 1985, he formed the supergroup The Power Station with ex-Duran Duran artists Andy Taylor and John Taylor, along with ex-Chic drummer Tony Thompson. A single album was released, and 2 songs hit the top 10 – Some Like It Hot and Get It On (Bang a Gong), the latter a remake of the song originally by T. Rex. Palmer only performed live with the band once – on Saturday Night Live. For their tour, he bailed to concentrate on more solo work.
  • Palmer’s next album, 1985’s Riptide, was his most successful, certified 2x platinum. It included his signature song, Addicted To Love, his only song to reach #1 on the Hot 100 chart. It won Palmer a Grammy award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Another song on the album, I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On, peaked at #2 on the Hot 100.
  • In 1988, he released his final hit album, Heavy Nova. The single Simply Irresistible peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and at #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Palmer won his second Grammy award with the song.
  • MTV was a huge vehicle of success for Addicted To Love and Simply Irresistible. Both videos are iconic, featuring nearly identical models with heavy make-up, with Palmer singing the songs while the models gyrate in the background.
  • Five albums were released in the 90s. His first, Don’t Explain, contained his final 2 songs to chart – Your Amazing reached #5 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)/I Want You, a remake of the 2 Marvin Gaye’s hits, reached #16 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
  • Power Station reunited in 1995 and an album was released, with Bernard Edwards replacing John Taylor. Edwards died of pneumonia prior to its release, and after a tour, the band split up again.
  • Robert Palmer had enough hits in the 80s to be in the top 100 of all artists during the decade, based on the number of weeks his songs charted. His videos for Addicted To Love and Simply Irresistible have been frequently parodied – a sure sign of their iconic nature. Here they both are – enjoy the flashback to the 80s!

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