Tag Archives: Robert Palmer

Classic Pop Special 40th Anniversary Edition: 7ATRT and All Excess

This marks the third blog that gives a little summary and my thoughts about the next set of articles in the Classic Pop Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In the previous posts, I took a look at the articles, “Conquering Planet Earth,” “Rare Photos,” and “Rio”.  Today, I’ll cover “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and “All Excess Areas”.  Mind you, this only takes me through the first 40 pages of the magazine that ends at page 129!

Seven and the Ragged Tiger:

First thing I notice about this article is how much shorter it is compared to the one on Rio.  Then again, the first album did not get this coverage at all.  There is not the focus on the songs and the videos like Rio had.  I guess that I can understand why.  Rio was/is far more popular and one could argue that Seven was not as important in the history of Duran.  Nonetheless, I’m anxious to see how this album is covered.

The article starts out with quite a bang.  The subheading reads, “…album saw them threatened with becoming victims of their success, in danger of being overexposed, they saved their reputations – and their money – by spending the year abroad.”  Victims of their own success?!  While I don’t necessarily disagree, I don’t think I have ever read it or heard it in that way.  I have often thought about how the band members might have felt then when fame was all encompassing from fans everywhere to an insane schedule in order to maintain the success.  The article gives a quote from Simon in which he explains about how the album was about “ambition”.

The first part of the article focuses on how the writing and recording was different than the previous albums.  There is a quote from Nick about how the songs “were built rather than written”.  This is literally the first time I heard that, which makes total sense to me.  I think you can hear that with all of the various layers on the songs on that album.  According to the article, EMI started getting nervous with Ian Little producing so they brought in Alex Sadkin who kindly decided to keep Ian on.  All of that was new to me, too.  It makes me want to know more, that’s for sure!   I wish that the articles included their references so that I could check out sources for myself.

 Excess All Areas:

The picture that accompanies this article tells me it is about the side projects of 1985 as the title did not give it away.  A classic Arcadia picture leads the reader in and the subheading leads me to think the focus is going to be how the two side projects show the two sides to Duran (arty and rock sides).  As the article begins, I finally understand the title about “excess” with the sentence, “…where every artistic whim in the studio was fully indulged.”  Ah.  I get it now.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the article focused more on Power Station rather than Arcadia which does not seem typical to me.  While I knew of the history listed in the article, the author added some ideas that were new to me, including bad blood with Robert Palmer.  The article claimed that he used Power Station to jump start his own career and that he believed that he created the Power Station sound.  Fascinating.  Again, I wish that I had a list of their sources.  I did appreciate that it mentioned the second Power Station album, which rarely gets talked about ever.

The section on Arcadia was generally predictable with the art influences and awesome guest stars.  I did think it was interesting that it mentioned about how it didn’t do as well, chart wise, as Power Station, especially considering that fans now generally prefer Arcadia.  The article does include a blurb on TV Mania but did not mention John’s solo work or Neurotic Outsiders.  Hmm…

I have to admit that this section of the magazine had a few eye-opening ideas.  As I mentioned a few times, I wish I knew their sources!  Anything surprise all of you?

-A

Power Station Closes Its Doors

A piece of history closed with a celebratory “good-bye” party on Monday, as the famed “Power Station”, more formally known as Avatar Studios, closed in advance of changing hands on September 1st to the Berklee College of Music. There has been no comment from Berklee as to what they plan to do with the studio space.

Fans know and recognize this studio as the namesake for The Power Station, the side project featuring John Taylor, Andy Taylor, Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson of Chic. The studio is also known for recording such musically important albums such as Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA and Peter Gabriel’s So.

I hadn’t thought about this in years, but I vaguely remember Amanda  having the address to The Power Station when we were in New York for the special fan show in 2007. I want to say that Amanda, our friend Sara, and myself wandered the streets for what seemed like hours in search of the studio – we didn’t want to bother anyone, we just wanted a photo. It’s weird how I forgot all about this until today, but I distinctly remember us stopping in front of one building or another, trying to see if that was in fact the right place! I seem to remember we did find it, but there were no signs out front or anything. (what, no neon signs saying “Power Station Recorded here!!!”?!? The horror!!)

It is in these moments, as I am writing the blog and have a question, when I know that Amanda is in the middle of teaching class in Wisconsin and there’s no way for me to talk with her, that I miss her most. I don’t think I have the pictures we took (we did take pictures, right?) that day, and yet she’s not at home so I can call her right now and ask.  It’s not even the moments when I really miss the simplicity of just being a fan on a road trip that I miss her most, or when I think back on the debauchery over the years. Nope, it’s when I have a real question.

Someday, I’m moving closer to her. It won’t fix the work problem, but just imagine her shock when I show up on her doorstep at night to ask if she’s got a picture I need!!!

Talk about rambling…I digress.

It is sad to hear about these historical places closing, but as in most things, the gift is the art created from within.

Even so, if those walls could speak….

-R

 

Today in Duran History – New Orleans

On today’s date in 1997, Power Station performed at the House of Blues in New Orleans, LA.   This date was included on the Living in Fear tour, in support of their second album.  John Taylor was not working with Power Station at this point, so the band consisted of Robert Palmer, Andy Taylor and Tony Thompson.

-R