Little Feat's 'Sallin' Shoes
Robert Allen Palmer, born in January 1949 in Yorkshire, was a famous singer, remembered for his soulful voice and eclectic mix of music styles.
In 1970, Palmer joined the 12-piece jazz-rock fusion band Dada, which featured singer Elkie Brooks. The band lasted a year, after which Brooks and Palmer formed the critically acclaimed rhythm and blues group, Vinegar Joe. Signed to the Island Records label, they released three albums: 'Vinegar Joe' (1972), 'Rock 'n' Roll Gypsies' (1972) and 'Six Star General' (1973).
Island Records went on to sign Palmer to a solo deal, and he released his first album ‘Sneakin’ Sally’ in 1974. His first single was a cover of Little Feat's 'Sailin' Shoes'. Although moderately successful in the UK, both the album and single reached the Top 100 in the US.
Subsequently relocating from London to New York City with his wife, Palmer released ‘Pressure Drop’ in 1976. With the failure of the follow-up ‘Some People Can Do What They Like’, Palmer decided to move to the Bahamas. In 1978, he released ‘Double Fun’, a collection of Caribbean-influenced rock, which scored a Top 20 single with single ‘Every Kinda People’.
Palmer's next album was an artistic departure, concentrating on a rockier direction. Secrets produced his second Top 20 single with Moon Martin's ‘Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)’. The 1980s saw Palmer reach the peak of his commercial success. The album ‘Clues’, produced by Gary Numan, generated hits on both sides of the Atlantic, first with the radio-friendly single ‘Johnny and Mary’ and then ‘Looking for Clues’. The success was repeated with the 1982 EP release of ‘Some Guys Have All the Luck’.
In 1985, Palmer joined drummer Tony Thompson and Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor and bass player John Taylor to form the band Power Station. Palmer performed live with the band only once that year, on Saturday Night Live.
Palmer recorded the album ‘Riptide’ in 1986, which featured the Number 1 single ‘Addicted to Love’.In 1987, he won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for his song ‘Addicted to Love’. Later that year, Palmer moved to Switzerland and set up his own recording studio, producing ‘Heavy Nova’ in 1988.
Palmer collaborated with UB40 for his next album, ‘Don't Explain’. Released in 1990, it featured the Bob Dylan-penned Top 10 single ‘I'll Be Your Baby Tonight’ and the Top 20 ‘Mercy Mercy Me’.
In 1995, Palmer reunited with other members of The Power Station to record a second album. ‘Living In Fear’ was released in 1996, and they had just begun touring when Edwards died of pneumonia.
The next few years saw more touring and more compilations; the next release of new material, Rhythm and Blues (1999) contained a mixture of Little Feat influenced songs, rock, and pop. His final release, Drive (2003), was critically hailed as his grittiest and most heartfelt album of his career.
Palmer died in Paris France of a heart attack at the age of 54.
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