Robert Palmer Dead At 54
Robert Palmer died Friday in Paris of a heart attack at age 54. He was in the city on a short vacation with Mary Ambrose, his life partner of more than 20 years, after having done some interviews in Yorkshire, England, for an upcoming TV show. A private burial ceremony will be held next week in Switzerland, where Palmer and Ambrose had lived for many years. Plans for any further services will be announced next week.
Palmer's manager Mick Carter said, "Robert's family is in a state of shock and grief. They appreciate all the love and support the public have been displaying at this sad news. Robert was a wonderful man, a legendary artist and will be greatly missed."
Besides Ambrose, Palmer is survived by his parents; his son James who played on Palmer's last album, Drive; his daughter Jane; and his ex-wife Susan.
Palmer was born January 19, 1949, in Yorkshire, and he grew up in England and on the island of Malta. He was in a succession of bands starting in the late '60s including the Mandrakes, the Alan Bown Set, Dada, and Vinegar Joe. In 1974, Palmer began a solo career that saw him release 14 studio albums, including his latest one, Drive, which came out earlier this year.
Palmer had nine singles make it into the Top 40, starting with 1978's "Every Kinda People" through 1991's cover of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)." His biggest hits were "Addicted To Love," which hit Number One in 1986; "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On," which reached Number Two that same year; and "Simply Irresistible," which spent two weeks at Number Two in 1988.
Palmer embraced all kinds of musical styles on his albums, but he became known as much for his appearance as his songs. He was rarely seen in anything but a custom-tailored suit and tie, a look which was highlighted in his videos.
Palmer was an accomplished musician, whose concerts included material ranging from traditional standards, funk, and rock, to hard rock like Motorhead's "Eat the Rich" and Husker Du's "New Day Rising."
Aside from his own recordings, Palmer was a member of the Power Station, which he formed with Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor, along with drummer Tony Thompson from Chic. The group had two Top 10 singles in 1985--"Some Like It Hot," which peaked at Number Six, and a remake of T. Rex's "Bang A Gong (Get It On)," which topped out at Number Nine.
From album sales in the United States, Palmer received three gold records, three platinum records, and one double-platinum record. He also received one gold single.