Artist Profile: Robert Palmer


Robert Palmer was an English musician that was born in January 1949. He was also a record producer known for combining rock, pop, blues, reggae, soul, and jazz, By the mid-80s, Palmer became a big star but critics say that he earned his popularity because of this infamous music videos rather than the strongest material of his music. Nevertheless, he still received several awards during his career including an MTV Video Music Award, two Grammy Awards for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, and two Brit Award nominations for Best British Male Solo Artist. That’s why in this article, we are going to find out more about this iconic singer-songwriter. 

Early Life and Career

Robert Palmer was influenced by soul, jazz, and blues music on American Forces Radio while growing up, that’s why he always had a thing for making music. That’s why when he turned 15, he decided to join his first band, The Mandrakes, while he was still at Scarborough High School for Boys. But his real break came when he joined the band The Alan Brown Set as their new vocalist when their singer, Jess Roden decided to quit the band. Alan Palmer and the band was invited to London to perform their single “Gypsy Girl” which was from the band’s “Alan Bown Set!” album and was originally recorded by Jess Roden. After their performance, the song was re-recorded and by the band with Palmer and became an instant hit. 

In 1970, Robert Palmer joined the 12-piece jazz-rock fusion band called Dada which featured other vocalists such as Pete Gage and his wife Elkie Brooks. After a year, the three of them formed a soul-rock band and called it Vinegar Joe where Robert Palmer was the rhythm guitarist who shared vocals with Elkie Brooks. The band then signed with Island Records label and released three albums namely “Vinegar Joe” in 1972, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies” in 1972, and “Six Star General” in 1973. After their third album, the band disbanded in 1974.

On that same year, Island records signed Robert Palmer as their new solo artist. He released his first solo album entitled “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” which was recorded in New Orleans, Louisiana. Palmer said that his first solo album was heavily influenced by Little Feat and the funk fusion of the band The Meters. Although his first album was unsuccessful in the United Kingdom, his album still managed to enter the Top 100 charts in the United States. 

In 1975, he released his album “Pressure Drop” which featured a reggae vibe. He promoted his reggae and rock-infused album by doing a tour with Little Feat. In 1978, he released his “Double Fun” album which featured a Caribbean-influenced rock vibe. This album managed to enter the Top 50 on the US Billboard chart and scored a Top 20 single with the cover of an Andy Fraser song “Every Kinda People.”

Robert Palmer’s follow up album had a pure rock genre and it was called “The Secrets” which was released in 1979. The album managed to produce Palmer’s 2nd Top 20 single with the cover of Moon Martin’s “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor).”

In 1980, Palmer released his album “Clues which was a synth-pop record that featured Chris Frantz and Gary Numan and it became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. His success got repeated when he released his 1982 EP called “Some Guys Have All the Luck.” A year after that, Palmer released his album “Pride” that featured his cover on The System’s song “You Are in My System” and The System’s member, David Frank, even contributed his keyboard tracks to the song. 

In 1983, Robert Palmer teamed up with the band Duran Duran for a little side project album they called “Power Station” which scored the hit singles “Some Like it Hot” and the cover of a T.Rex song, “Get It On.” After exiting the band before a planned tour, Robert Palmer recorded his 1985 solo album called “Riptide” which featured a sleek collection of guitar rock. Palmer scored a number one hit with the single “Addicted to Love” and his luck continued with his follow up single, “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.” 

In 1988, Palmer released his first single from his “Heavy Nova” album titled “Simply Irresistible.” During the 1990s, he released his album “Don’t Explain” followed by his other albums namely “Ridin’ High” in 1992, “Honey” in 1994, “Rhythm and Blues” in 1999, and his last album “Drive” in 2003. 

He didn’t get the chance to enjoy or promote his last album because on September 26, 2003, Robert Palmer was found dead in his Paris hotel room, he was 54. Everybody in the music industry remembered Palmer as a very dear friend and a great artist. 

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