Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Very Best of Robert Palmer (1997)

A 17 track compilation covering the years 1978-1997.  Every Palmer release I've owned has been all over the map stylistically - rock, R&B, New Wave, glam, blues, reggae, pop, soul, etc.  He had minor U.S. hits here and there, but his music choices were too eclectic to earn a steady following, despite having a fantastic voice.  Enter MTV and the legendary "pouty model band" backing him up in his videos and suddenly he's a much bigger draw in the late '80s.  Thanks, MTV (my favorite was the gorgeous guitar player on the far right). This compilation was put together in 1995 for European release where Palmer's chart history differs greatly from his U.S. rankings.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks: Palmer had 12 US Top 40 hits (including 3 with side project The Power Station), but only 8 appear here.  The disc starts out with a completely unnecessary 1997 remix (or rerecording?) of Addicted to Love, but no worries as the 1985 original closes out the disc.  Two of my favorite tracks, Looking For Clues and Every Kinda People weren't the biggest hits, go figure.  And I've always thought the Power Station's cover of T. Rex's Get It On (Bang A Gong) was one of the better covers of the '80s. The "new" tune, a cover of The Staple Sisters' Respect Yourself just leaves you longing for the original.

Song Year  Hot 100 
Addicted To Love '971997-
Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) 1979 14
Simply Irresistable    19882
Get It On (Bang A Gong)   19859
Some Guys Have All The Luck    1980 -
I Didn't Mean To Turn You On 1985 2
Looking For Clues    1980 105
You Are In My System 1983 78
Some Like It Hot 1985 6
Respect Yourself   1995 -
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (w/UB40)
Johnny & Mary   1980 -
She Makes My Day 1988-
Know By Now  1994-
Every Kinda People
Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You 199016
Addicted To Love 19851

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  I had the Power Station album plus three of Palmer's albums on cassette: Riptide (1985), Heavy Nova (1988), and Don't Explain (1990).  Of those four albums, Riptide was my favorite.  This CD was purchased not long after its release to replace those cassettes.


  1. I became a Palmer fan with "Every Kinda People" and the album "Double Fun" in the late 70s and went forth to discover his earlier stuff, which I also loved. ("Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley" and "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" shoulda been hit singles.) But nothing he did after he gave up blue-eyed soul for rock 'n' roll appealed to me in the same way. However: a concert I attended during this period (while he was touring on "Secrets" in 1979) is still the greatest show I've ever been to.

  2. jb, I too become a fan of the man upon hearing "Every Kinda People" although my exposure to the song came not from radio or his own album but rather the K-Tel compilation, Starburst.

    Eventually working my way back through his catalog, I was always impressed by his impeccable style and his choice of covers (both songs and that leggy lady on Pressure Drop.). So many great songwriters (Lowell George, Ray Davies) and musicians (members of Little Feat and The Meters) appeared on those earlier albums...

    Being slightly younger than you, my first and probably only opportunity to see Palmer live came when I got tickets to Power Station in '85. Spent a solid week listening to Palmer songs beforehand and then the band hits the stage and Michael des Barres is there in place of Palmer. No knocks on des Barres but he wasn't Plamer. (Well, I guess that is a knock.) This was mere weeks before Live Aid when the "secret" would be out and back then, fans literally had no way of knowing beforehand - today, it would be Tweeted as soon as the band hit the stage: "No Robert Palmer???? WTF?????"

    While I probably didn't call enough attention to it, one of the most pleasant surprises on a soundtrack full of them in The Way Way Back was when "Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley" is heard during a party scene. Sam Rockwell's character (and perhaps Rockwell himself) has that certain charisma and charm that Plamer effortlessly exuded.

  3. I'm an odd duck perhaps, but I'm pleased to see that "Know By Now" is on this collection. I really liked Robert Palmer (though I've never owned an album other than a free copy of "Honey", which isn't a gem.)