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Palmer wanted this song to be a duet with Chaka Khan and recorded it with her. His label, Warner Brothers Records, would not allow her voice to be used on the record, so he had to erase her part and re-record her high notes before releasing it. Chaka Khan did appear on Steve Winwood's "Higher Love
," which beat out this song for the 1987 Record Of The Year Grammy.
The video featured Palmer singing in front of a "band" of beautiful women who looked exactly alike. They wore lots of make-up and identical clothing as they pretended to play the instruments. The video became an icon of the '80s, and is constantly parodied, including in a Pepsi commercial with Britney Spears.
Elton John's lyricist Bernie Taupin makes a pretty good case that the models in the video were influenced by the song "Bennie And The Jets
," where he wrote about a futuristic Rock band of androgynous beauties. Said Taupin: "I can't help but believe that that Robert Palmer video with all the identical models somehow paid a little lip service to The Jets."
The funny thing about the video was that the models posing as a band were selected precisely because they did NOT know how to play the instruments. As a result, each girl was keeping her own time and moving to a different beat.
One of the girls in the video was "bassist" Mak Gilchrist. She recalled to Q magazine June 2009: "I was 21 and got the part on the strength of my modeling book. We were meant to look and 'act' like showroom mannequins. Director Terence Donovan got us tipsy on a bottle of wine but as were having our make-up retouched, I lost balance on my heels and knocked the top of my guitar into the back of Robert's head, and his face then hit the microphone." Gilchrist added: "I remember feeling an acute sense of embarrassment when I first saw how sexy the video was. The most unusual place I saw it was on a huge screen on the side of a Tokyo building."
The girls in the video were not Palmer's idea. They were filmed separately and edited behind clips of Palmer singing.
The "love is an addiction" theme is a common lyrical trope, also successfully used the 1983 Huey Lewis & the News hit "I Want A New Drug
." Palmer, who died of a heart attack in 2003 at age 54, said that he wrote the song about what it's like having an addictive personality.
The "keyboardist" in the video was Susie Verrico, who later appeared in the in the 2006 series of the UK reality TV show Big Brother.
Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of this called "Addicted to Spuds" on his album Polka Party!. (thanks, Steph - SoCal, CA)
They Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust
The Sevendust frontman talks about the group's songwriting process, and how trips to the Murder Bar helped forge their latest album.