Robert Palmer – Addicted To Love
Woah, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough
You know you're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to love
Might as well face it, you're addicted to love
In the 80s we saw some cases when a video was more famous than the song itself, or at least had something particular that stuck much more to people’s minds. I’m thinking of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer, for example, but also many others. However, I think that the record belongs to Robert Palmer, who made a video whose echoes are still alive decades later, for a song of which we hardly remember a verse by heart.
Let’s be clear: Robert Palmer, a Yorkshire gentleman who sadly died very young in 2003, was a musician with a respectable career in the early 80s, crowned by the great success of Johnny and Mary in 1980, a song that was also broadcast by MTV on its first day. In 1985 he was one of the pillars of a famous supergroup, The Power Station, and we see him in the videos of Some Like it Hot, dressed as a priest, and Get it on (Bang a Gong) together with John Taylor and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran, and Tony Thompson of Chic.
But in 1986 the great Robert Palmer composed a song in his own style, certainly pleasant, which really had an extra help, because the English director and photographer Terence Donovan shot a video destined to go down in history.
The song was obviously Addicted to Love, a nice hit in the style of The Power Station, also because in the song you can hear the instruments of Andy Taylor and Tony Thompson, but we all certainly remember the song’s video better than the song. Actually the song was supposed to be a duet between Robert Palmer and Chaka Khan, but her producers prevented Chaka from singing on the record, and therefore Robert Palmer had to delete the track with Chaka’s voice.
What was special about this video? Behind Palmer there are five models dressed in total black, red lipstick standing out on their heavily made-up faces. The five models pretend to play keyboards, bass, guitars and drums, but they aren’t too convinced either, and it seems that they deliberately give the impression of being out of time or of making deliberately fake movements. To tell the truth, one of the reasons why they had been chosen by the director was precisely because they didn’t really know how to play, and this would have guaranteed a certain easy feeling of their gestures.
They have a decidedly detached and almost indifferent attitude, except in a few moments in which expressions of seduction are seen, but overall they seem almost robotic. The models were, from left to right in the video, Julie, Patty, Kathy, Mak and Julia; Patty was the only American among four British ladies, all had had some experience in the world of television commercials or in some anonymous appearances in other less fortunate videos.
The girls enjoyed shooting the video, Robert Palmer behaved like a true gentleman, also because his wife was on the set, and it didn’t even take too long because Robert was a great performer, and the overall recording was therefore really fast. However, when the models saw the final edited video, they realized that director Donovan had absolutely succeeded in capturing all their charm even through easy movements, and a couple of them marveled at how the video was definitely sensual.
It was a hit, and I’m sure you now remember Robert Palmer and his video! Surely the great Shania Twain remembered it, when in 1999 she made the video for one of her most important hits, Man! I Feel like a Woman! , where Shania sang surrounded by four male models who played instruments in an equally easy style, clearly taking inspiration from Robert Palmer’s video.
The video for Addicted to Love also inspired Britney Spears in a famous Pepsi commercial, and of course this song couldn’t be without a Weird Al Yankovic parody.
One last curiosity about this beautiful song: on his arrival in some remote place in the Pacific during a tour, Robert Palmer made a bet with his producer about the song’s chart position. Palmer ventured that the song might have even reached second place, and so they called a special number at the record company to find out who had won the bet. And Robert Palmer lost, because the song had reached the first place!
If there was a chart for videos, Addicted to Love would have been at number 1 until the end of the 80s!
Robert Palmer on Wikipedia