[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Singer Robert Palmer dies
Robert Palmer
Palmer died in Paris while taking a break with his partner
Singer Robert Palmer has died of a heart attack in Paris aged 54.

The British star is best known for his hits Addicted to Love, Some Guys Have All the Luck and Didn't Mean to Turn You On.

He had been in the French capital on a two-day break with partner Mary Ambrose, after recording a TV appearance in the UK.

His manager said he suffered the heart attack in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Yorkshire-born singer had recently been on tour of Europe to promote his latest album Drive.

Palmer had been performing since the early 1970s, playing in bands including Mandrake Paddle Steamer and Dada, featuring Elkie Brooks.

He then went on to front Vinegar Joe, also with Brooks, releasing three albums with the band before launching his solo career.

Addicted To Love
Addicted To Love made Palmer a household name
Brooks said she was "devastated" at the news and had reconciled with Palmer after several "differences of opinion" over the years.

"Robert was a star - he was a great writer, a fabulous musician and a great singer," she said. "And he was stunning looking."

He had a strong influence over other musicians - especially visually, with his ground-breaking videos, she said.

"Robert was always one that wanted to be different, wanted to be trendy - from the way he looked to the music. He wanted to be a step ahead," she said.

Famous video

He was also a member of 1980s supergroup Power Station, which also included members of Duran Duran.

In a statement, Duran Duran said: "He was a very dear friend and a great artist. This is a tragic loss to the British music industry."

It was it was during the 1980s that Palmer achieved mainstream solo recognition.

Robert Palmer
He was something really rare in the music industry - he was an absolute gent
Ex-publicist Suzanne Parkes

Known for his sharp dress sense, his solo album Riptide produced the top five hit Addicted to Love, which was backed with one of rock music's most famous videos.

It featured Palmer backed by a band featuring identically-dressed woman, who were also made up to look the same.

But after scoring hits with She Makes My Day and Mercy Mercy Me he turned he returned to his rhythm and blues roots.

His Ridin' High album in 1992 was a mix of genres from Tin Pan Alley and cabaret classics.

A greatest hits album was released in 1995 and reached number four in the UK charts.

TV appearance

Although born in Batley, West Yorkshire, he spent much of his childhood in Malta before moving back to the UK at the age of 19 where his family settled in Scarborough.

Later on he spent time living in New York, the Bahamas and Switzerland, but also stayed close to his roots.

Rock journalist Paul Lester, from Uncut magazine, said Palmer rose from northern clubs to become "elegant and sophisticated" and the master of several styles.

"He was kind of a pioneer of blue-eyed soul, which is white men doing black music and R&B pretty well. He had two or three careers," Lester told BBC News Online.

Palmer filmed his parts for a regional TV show, My Kinda People, about his musical influences, for Yorkshire TV on Wednesday.

'So much fun'

Robert Palmer
Palmer appeared on stage with Chaka Khan at Wembley Arena recently
"At the moment, no decision has been made regarding the future of this programme as everyone's thoughts are with Robert's family and friends," a spokesman said.

Suzanne Parkes, who worked as Palmer's publicist for Power Station's Living in Fear album in 1996, told BBC News Online: "He was something really rare in the music industry. His offstage persona was even nicer than that onstage, he was an absolute gent.

"I'm really sad, but I remember the times with Robert as just so much fun.

"I remember going with him to this secret karaoke club in Soho once - and he actually got up on stage and did karaoke to his own songs, to Addicted to Love, just for a laugh."

The BBC's David Sillito
"A star for whom the music mattered more than the lifestyle"

Robert Palmer: Your tributes
26 Sep 03  |  Have Your Say
Obituary: Robert Palmer
26 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Shock and sadness at Palmer's death
26 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific