The supergroup known as The Power Station started with Robert Palmer teaming up with members of Duran Duran, namely Andy Taylor and John Taylor, as well as Chic’s Tony Thompson and Bernard Edwards. At least this was the lineup from the group’s first album. For the 1996 recording of the second album, Bernard Edwards, also from Chic, took John Taylor’s place as bass guitarist. The group formed in 1984 after Duran Duran opted to take a short break from their busy schedule of recording and touring music together. That little break wound up becoming a bit lengthier than expected.
The band Duran Duran, who has been a devout fan of Robert Palmer and his music, invited him to perform at a 1983 charity concert for a benefit in the UK. Come 1984, after Duran Duran’s third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, was released, the group opted to take a short break from each other. Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor formed Arcadia as a side project while Andy Taylor and John Taylor teamed up with Robert Palmer, as well as Chic’s Tony Thompson, to form The Power Station. The first album the group recorded and released was in1985 that was titled after the band’s name. In 1996, without John Taylor, Living in Fear became the band’s second studio album. In 2003, a compilation album was released, simply titled Best of The Power. It was also in 2003 Robert Palmer died from a mass heart attack two months after Tony Thompson had died from complications caused by his kidney cancer.
The Power Station’s Top Ten Songs
#10 – Let’s Get It On
From The Power Station’s second studio album, Living in Fear, the 1996 cover, “Let’s Get It On,” featured Palmer’s soulful delivery of a song that is of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 origin. The delivery of the song may not have been as impactful an R&B classic like the legendary Gaye himself, but it still displays the talent of Palmer’s richly powerful vocals in a song that still serves as an easy listening piece to either get swept away in a romantic interlude, or to simply sit back, listen, and enjoy.
#9 – Notoriety
At first, “Notoriety” sounds like there is an engine at work but then breaks into a guitar riff that is as powerful as the vocals coming from Robert Palmer when he breaks into song. There is a pulse to this song that is hard to ignore, which sets a bit of a fighting spirit mood to stand against the sign of trouble. The combined performance of The Power Station is no less powerful in 1996 than it was in 1985.
#8 – Harvest for the World
When The Isley Brothers first recorded and released “Harvest for the World” in 1976, it was a number nine R&B hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and appeared at number sixty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was also very popular in the UK at the time as it peaked at number ten on its official music chart. The 1985 pop-style version performed by The Power Station may not have shared any sign of chart success, but was still among the best music the supergroup ever produced.
#7 – Lonely Tonight
An original song was written by Bernard Edwards and Robert Palmer, “Lonely Tonight” featured drummer Tony Thompson at his best as he opened up the song with his world-class, heavy-hitting style. Sooth in the rhythmic vocals of Robert Palmer and the song sways a swirl of pop and soul that has become Palmer’s lyrical trademark.
#6 – Murderess
The guitar riffs from the two Taylors, plus Thompson’s genius drum beats, made the 1985 “Murderess” powerful enough on their own. Throw the vocal range between smooth and gruff by Robert Palmer, and it beautifully adds to the dramatic presentation of a song that is thoroughly enjoyable. Not fast, but not slow, the suspenseful nature of Murderess carried itself as one of those tracks that made the entire debut album from The Power Station as successful as it was.
#5 – The Taxman
Starting off with a hint of Egyptian influence, “The Taxman” bursts into a powerful performance by The Power Station, which served as the highlight of the song when they released it in 1996. It was one of the tracks from the group’s second album, Living in Fear. Thirty years prior, the original version was performed by The Beatles, a song that was written and sung by their lead guitarist, George Harrison. It was his response to how tax posed a threat to bankrupting the legendary band. The influence of the song served as an easy win for Harold Wilson during the nation’s general election that same year. It also became an inspiration for psychedelia and punk to emerge as genres of music, as well as lifestyle choices among the population.
#4 – She Can Rock It
The Power Station was inspired to put together a second album as a supergroup. However, bassist John Taylor wasn’t in a position at the time to stay with the rest of the group to begin recording. He was going through a divorce and wound up checking himself into a drug rehabilitation program. Bernard Edwards, who produced the first album in 1985, took Taylor’s place as the group’s bass guitarist. On the UK Singles Chart, the song appeared at number sixty-three.
Although the one and only single released from the 1996 album did not share the same global chart success as the supergroup’s previous single, it is no less brilliant in performance between Palmer’s soulful lyrics and the unbeatable talent only Andy Taylor, Tony Thompson, and even Bernard Edwards can give. Sadly, for Edwards, it was his final as he died due to complications from pneumonia while in Japan before the album was officially released.
#3 – Communication
“Communication” was the third single released from The Power Station’s debut album in 1985. While it was not a chart-topping success, it was enough to appear at number thirty-four on the US Billboard Hot 100, at number seventy-five on the UK Singles Chart, and at number ninety-five on the Australia Recording Industry Association (ARIA) chart. Heavy-hitting with instrumentation as a pulse at first, Robert Palmer’s vocals served as a smooth entry into what was a power-hitting single from start to finish. For The Power Station, this was the theme behind the entire debut album, track for track.
#2 – Get It On (Bang a Gong)
When “Get It On” first came out in 1971 by T. Rex, it was the second chart-topping hit on the UK Singles Chart. When it was released in the US, the title was altered to Bang a Gong as there was already a song titled Get It On by the American jazz group known as Chase. The name change was to avoid potential confusion among the listeners. For T. Rex, the song earned him gold certification from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) of the UK. As for The Power Station’s 1985 version, the two titles of the song are merged as Get It On (Bang a Gong).
The sexually suggestive song was a big hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 as it charted at number nine. In Australia, Get It On peaked higher at number eight. On the Irish Singles Chart, it reached number twelve, and on the UK Singles Chart at number twenty-two. The big appeal of the song was the outstanding performance of Andy Taylor as lead guitarist, the unrelated John Taylor’s bass guitar, and Tony Thompson on drums. Robert Palmer’s suggestive lyrical performance was every bit as powerful as the demos he first heard from the supergroup served as the main trigger that had his vocal talent featured throughout the entire debut album.
#1 – Some Like It Hot
Whenever Robert Palmer sings in that microphone, there is no mistaking who it is as his vocal performance has always delivered some given level of sultry tone that is unmistakable. Combine this with the Taylor boys’ combo of genius guitar and Thompson’s brilliant drumming, and it seems it’s not surprising at all “Some Like it Hot” sizzled the music charts when it was released in 1985. Some Like It Hot charted as high as number four in Australia and Canada, as high as number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 and in Belgium, and on the UK Singles Chart, the song peaked at number fourteen. It was also a top twenty hit among the nations of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, making the first single The Power Station released from their debut album in 1985 serve as a globally successful hit.
Top 10 Power Station Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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