Bob's Your Uncle

Publié le par olivier

Bob's Your Uncle

Cool smoothie Robert Palmer - who caused a right old rumpus when he ditched the Power Station - is back in the charts doing what he does best - crooning about lurve. 

Addicted To Love has given him his first American Number One, and also his first hit here in ages. Pat Thomas managed to stop gazing wistfully into his limpid eyes just long enough to find out more about his style , his music and the goings on in the Power Station.

 

When Robert Palmer turns on that eye-twinkling boyish grin it's enough to melt even the hardest heart. No wonder he's collected such a willing army of addicts - girls love him and boys want to be like him.

In the Power Station he gave both the Taylors a run for their money in the glamour stakes, and now he's gone solo again there's just no stopping him.

Before joining the ill-fated Power Station, Robert was best known for fishing for his supper out of his living room in Nassau - a West Indian paradise. He also had a reputation for producing credible and stylish records much admired by his fellow musicians and the Habitat set. Unfortunately, however, few were hit singles.

After the Power Station fiasco, when he refused to tour the States with the band, he gained a reputation for "unprofessional" behaviour.

"People accused me of joining the Power Station for money, which is a real joke! Funniest thing I've ever heard. Firstly, I didn't need the money and secondly the cash was a long time in coming. It wasn't exactly an experience that set me up for retirement."

Listening to Robert's album Riptide, one might be tempted to say it sounds - well - a bit like the Power Station actually. But Robert is having none of it.

"Listen, I gave the Power Station that sound. They took it from me, not the other way round."

If his involvement with the Power Station was less than happy, his recent success has more than made up for it.

"I've always tried to make music in touch with the times, even when I was living a long way from the competitive atmosphere of places like London or New York."

His staying in touch was no doubt aided by the fact that Nassau's famous recording studios, Compass Point, was for a long time a mecca for everybody who's anybody in the music world. He also had a network of friends who would send him tapes of the latest sounds from around the world - a system which ultimately brought Robert Palmer and Gary Numan together for a few tracks on Robert's Clues LP.

At 37 he's hardly a spring chicken, but like Bryan Ferry he has an air about him which makes age immaterial. He also wears his clothes so well that even now he could possibly slip into a career as a male model - a touchy subject it transpires.

"My biggest problem is all this rubbish about fashion. It's so aggravating when I make a new record and all anybody ever talks about is the cut of my trousers. Sometimes I don't know who it is they're writing about. To a certain extent it's other people who've built up my image. I mean, I like women and clothes and food but I'm hardly a womaniser or some sort of dandy."

Musically Robert's views have hardly changed over the years. Although his music is soul-based he's produced records of amazing variety. Although he's planning to move to the more sedate environment of Switzerland, he attributes much of his love of all types of music to living in what some would call the 'seclusion' of Nassau for ten years.

"I was more cut off living in New York or London than I ever was in Nassau, because in those major cities I was only ever exposed to one type of music. Nassau was neutral territory where anything was possible. I love all types of music while most musicians only like one type."

For the last couple of months Robert's been all over the shop, touring the Us and Japan - and of course he's been here for his first Top Of The Pops appearance in donkeys' years (Well, since Some Guys Have All The Luck).

"Am I looking forward to it? I suppose so. Obviously the faces change but Top Of The Pops is much the same as it always was. Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting a bit old for this sort of thing..."

 

Top Of The Pops - 1986

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