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Died On This Date (September 26, 2003) Robert Palmer

Posted by themusicsover on September 26, 2009

Robert Palmer
January 19, 1949 – September 26, 2003

Robert Palmer was a popular English rock and blue-eyed-soul singer who had a much longer and fruitful career than many realize.  He was just 15 when, in 1969, Palmer cut his first records as the lead singer of The Alen Bown Set.  That following year, he formed his own band, Vinegar Joe, with whom he sang and played rhythm guitar.  The group soon signed with Island Records and released three critically acclaimed yet commercially ignored albums before the label signed Palmer to a solo deal.  He began releasing a string of moderately successful albums that featured such radio-friendly tracks as “Some Guys Have All the Luck,” “Bad Case of Loving You,” and “Clues.”  The mid ’80s were particularly kind to Palmer.  He first hooked up with members of Duran Duran to form Power Station who scored two huge hits with “Some Like It Hot” and “Get It On (Bang a Gong),” with Palmer on lead vocals.  He soon followed that with a handful of his own hits, which included “Simply Irresistable,” “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and “Addicted To Love.”  His catchy dance-rock songs and titillating videos were a perfect match for MTV during its most popular and trend-setting era.  Suddenly, Palmer found himself part of an internationally revered club of superstar pop singers that included the likes of Tina Turner, David Bowie and Rod Stewart.   By design, Palmer’s output during the ’90s was much more eclectic, making it critically lauded, but never matching his commercial success of the ’80s.  Palmer’s final album, 2003’s blues set, Drive, was praised by critics as his most sincere, if not best album he ever released.  Robert Palmer suffered a fatal heart attack on September 26, 2003.  He was 54 years old.

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4 Responses to “Died On This Date (September 26, 2003) Robert Palmer”

  1. Alan Redfield said

    I was a friend of Robert Palmer’s. I first met him shortly before he moved to Nassau, the Bahamas. The aquisition of his beachfront home was an interesting story. His mentor and boss, Chris Blackwell, the owner of Island Records, sold the three story victorian home to him. Blackwell’s own beach home was only three blocks down the beach, and when Blackwell bought his beach home in 1970, he wanted privacy so he bought the second home as well. He really did not want neighbors close by. Robert fell in love with the home so Blackwell was kind enough to sell it to him. Some interesting things were happening in Robert’s life before he died. He was laying out some serious plans. He was planning on relocating to Los Angeles with his longtime girlfriend, Geraldine Edwards, whom he had met in 1976. Some people may know Geraldine as the woman Almost Famous was written about. She was indeed the real Penny Lane. Robert had put his Lugano mansion on the market, and was departing Switzerland for good. He felt that Los Angeles would be a better place to be at that point in his career. Robert was also going back into the studio in October of 2003. He had all the material that he was going to record ready. He had written six songs that were going to appear on his new recording. He was given full creative control of the project and he was very happy about that. Robert had an independent streak and on more than one occasion had words with his Record Companies about creative ideas. And Robert was doing something before his death that he had become very interested in doing over the years and was now able to do. He was in negotiations to buy Compendium Records, the label he was signed to. He was very excited about that. He wanted to mentor new musicians just as his good friend and mentor Chris Blackwell did. When Robert died in Paris he was vacationing with Jack Bruce. Those two were tight and longtime friends. Jack was glad to be able to have spent that time with him. Prior to that, Robert was in London with Geraldine, while recording his television special. A lot of people were worried about Robert’s health. He had been diagnosed in 2002 with Hypertension and was taking medication for that condition. Still, his doctor recommended lifestyle changes too, and Robert was doing his best to comply. But Robert was 54 years old, and old habits are hard to break. He was also an perfectionist, and that did not help either. Even so, when I was informed of Robert’s death, it really hit me hard. Nobody is ever really prepared for the death of someone they care about. Robert was one of the great ones, and he will be remembered by those who loved him. May he RIP.

    • themusicsover.com said

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a great tribute to your friend. I wish I had been lucky enough to meet him.
      Vince

  2. Mel Collins said

    Thanks for this nice article about Robert Palmer. I was a studio musician who worked with Robert in the seventies. I was a couple of years older than him, alright, try ten years, but I always liked the guy. We got along well as Robert did with most of the musician’s he collaborated with. For Robert it really was about the music. What really got me talking to Robert on my first gig with him was that I overheard him playing Buddy Miles. I had to compliment him on his good taste. I have worked professionally with Buddy live. From there we became friends, but I have got to say that Robert had many, many friends. Robert was one of those cats who attracted people. People just liked being around him. Every six months or so, I would be invited up to one of Robert’s homes or another. Over the years he always had more than one home. Lugano was home base, but not his only home by a long shot. I had the honor of meeting all three of his ladies, Shelly, Sue, and Geraldine. I met Shelly on my first project with Robert and she was gorgeous. She was a model before she married Robert and man, it showed. She was with it, sweet and fun. Robert met her when he was twenty-two years old and they fell head over heels. Susan was terrific, beautiful, and intelligent in spades. And she always won her arguments. She just had a way about her. I met Geraldine Edwards, now Geraldine Flemming-Mueller, she’s been married to her old man since 2006, in 2002. The lady was classy all the way. Another intelligent, beautiful lady who had a terrific sense of humor. She was a professional in the legal field, but there was nothing stuffy about her. In fact, she was one of the inspirations for Penny Lane in Almost Famous. The classy Bebe Buell was the other. Robert was crazy about Geraldine and gifted her with what he referred to as an engagement ring, a three carat square cut ruby. When I asked Geraldine if she was engaged to Robert, in true legal fashion she told me “I’m taking it under advisement.” About Drive, yes, it was critically hailed, but man did Robert have a problem getting the album done! I guess it was one disaster after another. He even joked that he thought perhaps the entire undertaking was cursed. He did say that he could not have gotten the thing to market without Carl Carlton, who is one of those people who is good in emergencies and a longtime confidante of Robert’s. He let a couple people participate on the project as a favor that he regretted, but it was too late to change things. The album was in the can and released. I was shocked when I heard about Robert’s death, through B.J. North, and I can say that it took a few days for the reality to sink in. It just seemed unreal. Thanks once more, for the cool article, Vince. You did this one with style and it stands out.

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