Rock Singer Robert Palmer Dies at Age 54
September 26, 2003
Rock singer Robert Palmer, known for his sharp suits and hits including "Addicted to Love," died Friday in Paris of a heart attack, his manager said. He was 54.
Robert Palmer's music videos were some of the most memorable of the 1980s.
Palmer was on a two-day break in Paris following a television recording session in Britain, his manager Mick Carter said from the French capital.
In the 1980s, Palmer became a superstar with singles which also included "Simply Irresistible" - accompanied by slick videos featuring the smartly dressed Palmer with a back-up band of attractive women, all in black outfits and glossy makeup.
A side project, Power Station, formed in 1985 with John Taylor and Andy Taylor of '80s supergroup Duran Duran, scored three U.S. Top 10 hits, including "Communication" and "Get it On."
The son of a British naval officer, Palmer was a member of several British rock bands before he hit the big time as a solo artist.
He had lived in Switzerland for the past 16 years.
Known for his GQ sense of style, Palmer was named best dressed male artist by Rolling Stone in 1990.
The "Addicted to Love" video, with its miniskirted models strumming guitars as Palmer sang, became one of MTV's most-played clips, and sparked protests from some feminists.
"I'm not going to attach inappropriate significance to it because at the time it meant nothing. It's just happened to become an iconic look," Palmer once said of the video.
He had his first hit album and single, "Sneakin' Sally through the Alley," in 1974.
In his 20s, Palmer worked with a number of small-time bands including Dada, Vinegar Joe, and the Alan Bown Band, occasionally appearing in opening acts for big draw including The Who and Jimi Hendrix.
Palmer once confessed that he was not attracted to the excesses of rock 'n' roll stardom.
"I loved the music, but the excesses of rock 'n' roll never really appealed to me at all," he said. "I couldn't see the point of getting up in front of a lot of people when you weren't in control of your wits."
He was noted for dressing up and being somewhat restrained.
"I don't want to be heavy," he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
"I can't think of another attitude to have toward an audience than a hopeful and a positive one. And if that includes such unfashionable things as sentimentality, well, I can afford it."