Born 19th January 1949 – Batley, Yorkshire, UK
Died 26th September 2003 – Paris
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Robert Palmer played in a mod group that played live at the Manchester Twisted Wheel –The Alan Bown Set.
Robert Palmer’s Soul Recordings are obviously influenced by an early interest in the Northern Soul Scene. He also spent some time in New Orleans working with many soul stars which resulted in a cult following.
In 1974 he released Sneakin Sally Through The Alley and his subsequent recordings owe a lot to Soul and Blues. He died prematurely in 2004. One of his last achievments was to find many of the lost videos of blues, rock n roll and soul artists in the vaults at Granada TV in Manchester. These were first broadcast in the early 1960’s on Granada’s Scene At Six Thirty.
Robert made an excellent programme showing Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Boy Williamson and many others.
FROM A NEWS ITEM AT THE TIME ANNOUNCING THE PROGRAMME ON YORKSHIRE TV:-
An hour-long documentary highlighting the musical influences of Robert Palmer will be transmitted as a tribute to the Yorkshire-born star, who died last month in Paris.
Palmer, 54, who was born in Batley and later lived with his parents in Scarborough, recorded the programme on September 24, 2003, at Ronnie Scott’s club in Soho. He died of a heart attack in the early hours of September 26 while staying at a Paris hotel with his long-time partner Mary Ambrose.
The programme was given the go-ahead to be broadcast by Robert’s family and his manager, Mick Cater, who had worked with Robert since 1974. The programme, presented by Robert, looks at his musical influences using unique television archive, some of which has not been aired for more than 40 years.
Among the artists appearing are blues artists Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson, from a 1963 programme ‘I Hear The Blues,’ Billie Holiday, from her last ever TV appearance on the 1959 Granada programme ‘Chelsea at 9,’ and appearances from both Duke Ellington and Count Basie.
Robert’s rock and roll influences included Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, whose performances from Granada shows in 1964 are both aired for the first time in nearly four decades. Palmer’s later influences included African musician King Sunny Ade, and Reggae star Lee Scratch Perry. Both are captured performing on The Tube from the mid 80s, along with one of Palmer’s favourite singers, Chaka Khan.
The show ends with rare archive of Otis Redding playing at Hammersmith Odeon, just nine months before he died in a plane crash in Wisconsin, and a performance from the Brazilian bossa maestro Joao Gilberto. The two were close and Gilberto is currently personally choosing the track to be included in the show.
Programme producer Mark Witty, who worked with Robert on what would be his last ever TV recording, said : ‘The entire crew was in a state of shock when we found out the terrible news of Robert’s death, but after getting permission for the programme to go ahead, we hope we’ve produced a fitting tribute to a great musician.’
MTV – Robert Palmer