Three Best Songs: Robert Palmer

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Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer (Giuseppe Cacace/Getty Images)

I saw [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Robert Palmer[/lastfm] in 1977 at the Binghamton Arena, opening for the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Doobie Brothers[/lastfm] on their Takin’ It To The Streets tour.

I really had no idea who he was until he did “Every Kinda People,” though I had to call a DJ to find what the name was. “Every Kinda People” was one of his best because it was so much more funky, delicate, and soulful than his Looking for Clues period and far less heavy-handed than he became even later.

The Looking For Clues period was around the time I started spinning records in college bars when I was 18 or 19. I was still largely clueless about Palmer, but the title cut from that album always went well with with the mix of punk and new wave that I played during happy hours.

As the ’80s came to a close, it was almost impossible to not know who Robert Palmer was. You couldn’t swing a dead cat in any direction, as they used to say in my hometown, without bumping into something he touched. As much as it was overplayed on the radio and on the MTV, “Addicted To Love,” when listened to with fresh ears, still has a crushing power and overt sexuality that comes pushing through the speakers. (And it doesn’t need the visuals of the mannequins air-guitar-ing along.) There was an essence of “Every Kinda People” in spite of it’s heavy metal-meets-disco production.

“Every Kinda People.” “Looking For Clues.” “Addicted To Love.” They’re the three best Robert Palmer songs. And of all those, this is my number one:

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