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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Shock and sadness at Palmer's death
Robert Palmer
Palmer was "a fabulous musician and a great singer", Elkie Brooks said
Stars and friends have been paying tribute to singer Robert Palmer, who died after suffering a heart attack in Paris on Friday.

Pop group Duran Duran, whose members John and Andy Taylor worked with Palmer in supergroup The Power Station, said they were "absolutely devastated" at the news.

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

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and his partner."

They said they last saw the Addicted To Love singer in July when both were on tours of Japan.

UB40, who had a number six hit with Palmer in 1990 with I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, were among other stars to pay tribute.

I admired his diverse approach to making music
"We are shocked and saddened by the news of Robert's sudden death," they said. "Our condolences go to [his partner] Mary and his family."

Elkie Brooks was in two bands with Palmer in the 1970s and said he could be very frustrating but there were also "times when I really adored him", she told BBC News Online.

If they did not have much money, he would say: "Oh, come on Elkie, let's go and have a nice meal and a bottle of wine," she said.

"And we'd just leave everybody else and go and do that. So we did have some good moments."

He became restless when they were in their second band, Vinegar Joe, before striking out on his own, she said.

"I think he used to get a little frustrated at times that his songs weren't always coming to the fore," she said.

He was great fun to be around - and he was so talented
Ex-publicist Suzanne Parkes
But the qualities that would make him a star were evident from the start, she said.

"He was a great writer, a fabulous musician and a great singer. And he was stunning looking.

"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.

She remained close to Palmer's family but had not seen the singer since 1976, she said, after several "differences of opinion".

But a message from his parents let her know that he had put their differences behind him.

'Great fun'

In another tribute, singer Seal said Palmer was "an inspiration" and "a good friend".

"I worked with him some years ago," he said.

"During that time I got to know him quite well. I admired his diverse approach to making music."

Suzanne Parkes, who worked as Palmer's publicist in the mid-1990s, described him as "an absolute gentleman to work for".

"He was great fun to be around," she said. "And he was so talented.

"I remember just listening to him at rehearsals and his voice was really good. It wasn't just the voice it was his timing."

Hardcore rock

Paul Lester, music editor of Uncut magazine, said Palmer enjoyed successful careers in many different musical areas.

"From pub rock stomping with Elkie Brooks in '72 to electronic pop music to smooth, suave R&B balladry, to blues to hardcore rock funk," he said.

The video for his 1986 hit Addicted To Love was highly influential, he said.

"Some people thought it was a nadir in female objectification and others saw it as a radical feminist statement.

"It was all the women playing the guitars and the drums and Palmer was kind of the totty up front."

Singer Robert Palmer dies
26 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Robert Palmer: Your tributes
26 Sep 03  |  Have Your Say
Obituary: Robert Palmer
26 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


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