From Yorkshire (and Malta), now (1999) living in Switzerland, after many years in the Bahamas. Originally a practitioner of blue-eyed soul in conventional rockbands, he signed with Island Records and was fortunate to have not been steered towards rawk or singer/songwriter turf.

He has been a great chameleon, changing settings at will. Sneaking Sally Through the Alley was done (in part) with Allen Toussaint's Sea-Saint crew; Lowell George was on it, and Little Feat proper worked on Palmer's subsequent LPs. "You Are in My System" was a great synth-funk collaboration with David Frank of The System; there was even some good work done (circa "Looking for Clues") with Gary Numan, an unlikely partner.

He was part of the Power Station supergroup, with members of Chic and Duran Duran; their album was a companion piece, of sorts, to David Bowie's state-of-the-art (for 1983) Let's Dance - both done at New York's Power Station studios with similar sonic blueprints and culprits.

But, of course, Palmer isn't as famous for any of this (however good it was) as he is for Those Videos - "Addicted to Love" introduced his "band", a set of faux-supermodels masquerading as musicians. "Addicted" was probably as bad as anything he'd recorded (the song was actually meant for Chaka Khan), but who was listening? "Simply Irresistable" (a better song, as was Palmer's cover of "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On", the third part of this video trilogy) followed the same visual formula, one that has been lampooned over the years, from Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing" to, most recently, Shania Twain.

Long-winded though this writeup is, there's another Robert Palmer (1945-1997), the late great music critic for The New York Times, and not a bad musician. Someday this node will get finished. Don't even get me started on DEC's Robert Palmer - I'm limited to two.


My favorite work by Robert Palmer was 1976's Pressure Drop. The cover shot of the supermodel's bare arse has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion on this matter, either. It's something even more romantic that draws me to this album. Lush strings.

Palmer has a wonderful voice for that blue-eyed soul music, even better than Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame.

If you've got a hot date and want to put on some music that's sure to get her moist and pliant (sorry, ladies; this is guy talk), I suggest programming this sequence:

  • Which of Us Is the Fool
  • Fine Time
  • Back in My Arms

If this doesn't do it for you, I'd have to wonder about your personal hygene.


UPDATE:

Mr. Palmer died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack on September 26, 2003. He was 54 years old. He was on a two-day break in Paris after working on a TV recording session in Britain. He had lived in Switzerland for the past 16 years.

"Honest men know that revenge does not taste sweet." -- Every Kind of People

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