Robert Palmer, R.I.P

Robert Palmer, ’80’s music icon and snappy dresser, has died at the age of 54.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t mention this – I tolerated his work but was never really a fan – except I know of someone who is going to be very upset: K, of And/News. The first time Richard sees her, she’s pumping coins into a juke box in a West Texas bar and dancing to Robert Palmer songs (I never even owned one of his records or CD’s until I started writing this book – I picked up a compilation of his hits to provide some atmosphere while I wrote).

I’ll definitely have to put some kind of reference to this in the book now, but I’ll have to decide where it will go. Maybe at the beginning I could have her say something to the effect that she went for a year or two without listening to him after he died. Or stick in a line somewhere like, “I don’t get all crazy like that when people die. Like I was sad when Robert Palmer died, but I didn’t get all suicidal.”

What’s interesting to me about K’s choice of music is the fact that she chose Robert Palmer, not me. Were it up to me, I would have given her a jones for a more obscure act that I felt deserved the attention, like Brian Protheroe, Spoons, or the Weimarband. But when I wrote that opening chapter of And/News, Richard walks into the bar to see her at the juke box, and she was dancing to… Surprise! The words I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On came out of my fingers.

Considering what happened to them next, it was a perfect choice.

I should have finished the book faster. I’d like to think that Palmer would have been chuffed to learn that he was K’s favorite artist.

NP – WHLO, The Bill Hall Show

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