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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
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Robert Palmer died way too young at 54...
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Tremendo cantante!!!
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Love you Robert Palmer missing you always !!!! R I P ��
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This is a strangely dismissive bio. Seems as if it's been written by someone with an axe to grind.
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The Extreme guitarist in the bio was Nuno Bettencourt, not Nino.
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I was saddened when I learned of his death. I thought he was was a talented writer,vocal i s t and musician. Addicted TO Love is my fav! "You might as well face it..."
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david.blahni k
Saw him at the Fox in Atlanta spring of 1978, great show, died too young
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another kiss is all you need
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I remember the MTV video any follow up on another one and then later Shania Twain it is a version on it
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blueyedmom00 7
Addicted to Love...oh yeah!!! Great song, good to dance to. Love his voice!!!
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She's anything but typical!
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An 80s icon. I will always love his music!
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I write this in the hope that the programmers at Pandora actually read these. Although as you state, Robert Palmer didn't get much air time on radio until he had the lounge lizard rep, for a true music fan his early work was his best. I hope to hear some of that work on this station in the future.
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
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So much cool. Broke my heart when found out he passed away! Sneaken sally till this day ROBERT! !!
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One of the tightest bands, caught the end of 90's tour with the black male choir from London doing backups and harmonies... A m a z i n g voice and stage presence...H e loved the bottom end, bass and rhythm ruled...
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Oh how I love this song, Simply Irresistible , the lyrics are brilliant and so is Robert Palmer. SEXY.
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I miss Robert. Especially as I approach the age we lost him. Loved seeing him at Concord Pavillion.
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bluesfan915
Tom Walk, Silver Kittygirl is referring to a cover of Todd Rundgren's 'Can We Still Be Friends' and I agree... It is awesome! Robert Palmer did a lot of covers from the Beatles to ZZ Topp! Of course, I always thought his versions were better than the originals... b u t I was CRAZY about Him, and always thought he could do no wrong! I miss him :-(
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It hurts reading this at 54. Loved him in the 80's, had his LP's and sw him at Concord Pavillion.
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Silver Kittygirl, aren't you thinking of Todd Rundgren? Another great, underappreci a t e d , fondly-remem b e r e d artist.
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dawn1916
Funky - like Little Feat. Miss this type of music!
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Oh f**k yes!
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lindamast641 5 5
left us way too early; special musician
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Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley,NUFF SAID
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kvons1
Very talented artist of the time. A sad and untimely departure--- R I P : Robert Palmer
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One hot and classy guy loved Power Station!
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Robert paimer and little feat go great together
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What no Power Station? I got a Bad Case... all right, a bad case of frustration.
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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.
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wtf Pandora, no album showing Sneakin' Sally Trough the Alley,his best by far
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Walter Chapman, Carl Palmer was in E, L,& P; not Greg Palmer.
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ladytrace777
the cover your in my system all time favorite
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For a long time I thought he was the Palmer in Emerson,Lake & Palmer.Boy was I wrong. That was Greg Palmer.
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Best music ever.
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wow..
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Can we still be friends? If you haven't heard it, you need too! Classic RP.
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Sailing Shoes/Julia/ S n e a k i n g Sally medley I never get tired of hearing
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with his music i get my first wild night ( some like it hot)
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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!
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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.
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mistycara13
I totally loved his music and his vids on MTV for such fun! So sad to loose someone so talented.
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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.
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kvons1 --- We must have amazingly similar music tastes. To mention Lowell and Robert together is perfect. Nothing like Sailin' Shoes, huh?
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kvons1
Sad loss of another great. Palmer & Little Feat----grea t combination! RIP: RP & LG
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dulcejen
Addicted to Love........ t o t a l l y ! :)
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Palmer will be looked back on in high esteem down the road...great vocalist
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when his music comes on you can't but toget up and dance!
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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.
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Better than the reviews he received. He always seemed a romantic at heart. Wish he was here.
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