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Robert Palmer

The career of blue-eyed soul singer Robert Palmer was a study in style versus substance. While the performer's earliest work won praise for its skillful assimilation of rock, R&B, and reggae sounds, his records typically sold poorly, and he achieved his greatest notoriety as an impeccably dressed lounge lizard. By the mid-'80s, however, Palmer became a star, although his popularity owed less to the strength of his material than to his infamous music videos: taking their cue from the singer's suave presence, Palmer's clips established him as a dapper, suit-and-tie lady's man who performed his songs backed by a band comprised of leggy models, much to the delight of viewers who made him one of MTV's biggest success stories.

Born Alan Palmer on January 19, 1949, in Batley, England, he spent much of his childhood living on the island of Malta before permanently returning to Britain at the age of 19 to sing with the Alan Bown Set. A year later he joined Dada, a 12-piece, Stax-influenced soul group which soon changed its name to Vinegar Joe; after three LPs with the band -- a self-titled effort and Rock'n'Roll Gypsies, both issued in 1972, and 1973's Six Star General -- Palmer exited to mount a solo career, and debuted in 1974 with Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley, recorded with members of Little Feat and the Meters.

With 1975's Pressure Drop, he tackled reggae, a trend furthered following a move to Nassau prior to 1978's Double Fun, which featured Palmer's first hit, "Every Kinda People." With 1979's self-produced Secrets, his music moved into more rock-oriented territory, as typified by the single "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)." Palmer's stylistic experimentation continued with 1980's Clues, a foray into synth-pop aided by Gary Numan and Talking Heads' Chris Frantz which yielded the club hit "Looking for Clues."

After 1983's Pride, Palmer teamed with the Duran Duran side project Power Station, scoring hits with the singles "Some Like It Hot" and "Get It On" (a T. Rex cover), which returned the singer to overt rock territory.

After exiting the band prior to a planned tour, Palmer recorded the 1985 solo album Riptide, a sleek collection of guitar rock which scored a number one hit with "Addicted to Love," the first in a string of videos which offered him in front of a bevy of beautiful women.

The follow-up, "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On," continued to play with the sex symbol image and hit number two, as did "Simply Irresistible," the first single from 1988's Heavy Nova. By 1990's Don't Explain, Palmer returned to the eclecticism of his earliest material; without any attendant soft-core videos, sales plummeted, but he stuck to his guns for 1992's Ridin' High, a collection of Tin Pan Alley and cabaret chestnuts. Two years later, Palmer's wide array of worldbeat influences cropped up again on Honey, which also featured guitar work from Extreme axeman Nino Bettencourt. Woke Up Laughing followed in 1998, it was an adventurous, if somewhat odd, collection of non-hit album tracks remixed and in some cases re-recorded.Rhythm & Blues, a slick set of adult contemporary pop, came out in 1999 to lukewarm sales and reviews. After a live album in 2001, Palmer bounced back with the future blues of 2003's Drive. However, Palmer had little time to enjoy it's release. On September 26, 2003 he died suddenly after suffering a heart attack. He was 54. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

dawn1916
Funky - like Little Feat. Miss this type of music!
Oh f**k yes!
lindamast641 5 5
left us way too early; special musician
Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley,NUFF SAID
kvons1
Very talented artist of the time. A sad and untimely departure--- R I P : Robert Palmer
One hot and classy guy loved Power Station!
Robert paimer and little feat go great together
What no Power Station? I got a Bad Case... all right, a bad case of frustration.
pfstevenson3 2
Pretty smug review of a great, great talent. It doesn't get any better than RP. More talent in his pinky than all of the current (or past) POP slugs.
wtf Pandora, no album showing Sneakin' Sally Trough the Alley,his best by far
Walter Chapman, Carl Palmer was in E, L,& P; not Greg Palmer.
ladytrace777
the cover your in my system all time favorite
For a long time I thought he was the Palmer in Emerson,Lake & Palmer.Boy was I wrong. That was Greg Palmer.
Best music ever.
wow..
Can we still be friends? If you haven't heard it, you need too! Classic RP.
Sailing Shoes/Julia/ S n e a k i n g Sally medley I never get tired of hearing
with his music i get my first wild night ( some like it hot)
I miss Robert Palmer. Whenever I hear one of his songs, I crank it up and start dancing and singing. He had a way of combining Soul and Rock n' Roll music. His work with Power Station was absolutely fantastic!
hagermw
Really miss Robert's music and style. Recently watched his performance of Marvin Gaye's Mercy, Mercy Me from an old Arsenio Hall show on You Tube. You can tell he put his soul out there for the world to see and did a classic, beautiful song justice.
mistycara13
I totally loved his music and his vids on MTV for such fun! So sad to loose someone so talented.
lweaver341
We saw Robert once in Indianapolis . Boy, he was good looking! Talented singer, I knew that; but, he looks...wow. Still enjoying his music.
kvons1 --- We must have amazingly similar music tastes. To mention Lowell and Robert together is perfect. Nothing like Sailin' Shoes, huh?
kvons1
Sad loss of another great. Palmer & Little Feat----grea t combination! RIP: RP & LG
dulcejen
Addicted to Love........ t o t a l l y ! :)
Palmer will be looked back on in high esteem down the road...great vocalist
when his music comes on you can't but toget up and dance!
I've been a long time fan of Palmer, back to the Sneakin' Sally days. Got to see him twice performing in clubs in Manhattan circa 1978-1980.
Better than the reviews he received. He always seemed a romantic at heart. Wish he was here.
mdilworth85
Doesn't get better - Robert Palmer vocals with Little Feat and Meters players backing him up!
my favorite trilogy...sn e a k i n sally...Awes o m e . . .
chiefb7
Preferred his earlier work more than his 80's stuff, but RP has always been one of my favorites.
jimboyoung
RP rocks. Period.
webmaster017 9
I really like how brazen he was with all the heavily made-up women strumming guitars - as if they knew how. Genius! His death saddened me after I had a heart attack in '98 and survived it. There but for the grace of God....
acecalisto
Robert Palmer had an unmistakeabl e voice....he was genuine, talented, and had a range of musical abilities: rock, soul, ecclectic, the list goes on...
acecalisto
Very original and talented musical artist---had range and varied abilities... h i s voice was unmistakeabl e !
gary, try little feat, or lowell george stations for his older stuff. I have the same problem with some of my stations. good luck
Really enjoyed his work. Why can't I get it? Of all the songs that have played since I created a station for him, I've had one Robert Palmer song. Plenty of Genesis, too much really crappy stuff.
Dude had golden tonsils, that's for sure. Fantastic voice.
pure funk
Pressure Drop and Sneakin' Sally are classic albums, and led the way for other performers in the 70's to try to expand their range. Palmer had substance, I don't know what the reviewer is dissing him about.
He was & still is The James Bond of rock music!!! RIP Robert Palmer!!!
Thank you for the song "addicted to love" Robert. You were an amazing singer! And mighty good looking too.
Class act. Lounge lizard my a**. Sometimes critics can put it where the sun don't shine. I love all of Robert Palmer's stuff. Great sense of humor too.
jimijo28
Good ones seem to die young!!!
I think I liked every song he did and he even pulled it off live!
Every Kinda People!!! He was a good One!!!
I'm glad I came back to see if anyone else remembered Robert fondly. I miss his talent everytime I hear his songs and know he isn't with us anymore.
soulsonsix
He left his mark on the career of many, with his talent and presence. Definitely will be missed, even though his musical gifts are still with us!
shailas
he was awesome.
hotchkiss0
The man was a singer in the classic sense. Style and very talented substance. Listen to his covers of the standards. The guy would have been a star in whatever era he lived in. There are quite a few of his songs that will be covered forever. Simply Irresistible i n d e e d .
Gone way too soon. What a remarkable talent. He is sorely misseed. RIP, Mr. Palmer.
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