Addicted To Love
I had always liked Robert Palmer. Other than the fact that he came from Yorkshire, I would quite like to have been just like him. Good-looking, sharp-suited, with hair that had just the right amount of style, without being too long. And he could sing too, and sing well. He was only three years older than me, so grew up around the same music scene, and seemed to like the same sort of music that I did.
He started singing whilst still at school, and eventually became lead vocalist of the reasonably successful group The Alan Bown Set, who had progressed from their start as a Blues band, to become one of the leading Soul music acts, by 1969. A year later, Palmer met renowned female vocalist Elkie Brooks, and in 1972, they formed the R&B touring band, Vinegar Joe. I saw this outfit at a club in London, and immediately recognised the singing talent of the little-known Palmer. Despite some moderate success, and the release of three albums, he was soon embarking on a solo career, and was signed to Island records, in 1974.
Working alongside such luminaries as Lowell George, and Allen Toussaint, he achieved some recognition in the USA, though not at first in his home country. However, by the 1980s, he was having chart success with a string of singles, including ‘Looking For Clues’, and ‘Johnny And Mary.’At the time, pop videos were becoming all-important for record promotion, and Palmer caught the mood, with his stylish appearance, and bluesy vocals backed by a driving beat. By 1985, he combined this new music style with a video of high quality, and enjoyed huge success with ‘Addicted To Love.’ This video was considered outrageous at the time, for its use of identically-dressed and made-up girls, who were obviously not really playing the instruments they were holding, but were purely there for ‘eye candy.’ Nonetheless, Palmer’s songs held up, and a similar video followed, this time for ‘Simply Irresistible.’
By the late 1990s, he seemed to have lost focus. After so long in the music business, his constant change of direction and musical style was confusing both his loyal fans, and any new audience alike.
In 2003, he died of a cardiac-related problem in a Paris hotel room. He was 54 years old.
Here is the video. It doesn’t seem at all outrageous now, does it?