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Addicted To Love

by

Robert Palmer



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

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)
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Comments (39):

"Icon of the 80s"? Hell yeah! Every single thing about this song and video worked. It was a concept seemingly so simple, you were surprised no one thought of it before. To put Robert Palmer in black pants, white shirt & tie like he's some kind of businessman in front of these leggy women dressed in black pretending to play their white instruments was visual genius. I think "amazonian mannequins" is an accurate description for the girls, but that is exactly what made this video stand out among many back in the day. One could even say their zoned out look mirrors an 'addicted' person's expression. The women add to Robert Palmer's sexy look: a short guy among all these tall women, well, he must have some special kind of sex appeal, right? Surely the song could be about drugs, but don't many of us agree that 'love' is a drug? So, definitely a double meaning here.
- Camille, Toronto, OH
One more entry -- sorry... The criteria for the models selected had nothing at all to do with whether or not we played instruments... I believe that 'most' models likely don't play instruments (generally not the focus when going into modeling), that's a given, however, the criteria for the models selected was that Donovan was searching for "a look" that was striking and hadn't yet been done... He found that "look", then, emulated that same look among each of the girls hired (e.g., egyptian geishas)... Donovan continued this same concept throughout several other of Palmer's videos, also to eventually include a Pepsi commercial... I should re-explain the time it took to do this... We spent about 45 minutes in dressing and makeup, then, about 1/2 hour actually shooting the backdrop for this video... At that time, none of us had any reason to believe those videos would become famous -- none of us made much money at all from them... There were barely any practice run-throughs beforehand -- this was not formally choreographed by a long shot... We practiced moving to the music a couple of times, then, the backdrop was shot -- that's it, and that's all... I have several times seen us referred to as "amazonian mannequins" which I have found to be humorous... It's really not that we were so tall, it's that most of us were in 3" heels and Palmer wasn't tall at all... I'd put him at having been about 5' 8" ish, somewhere in that proximity... It's really too bad that neither Palmer nor Donovan are still here to clear up all the misinformation now circulating re. these videos!
- Terri, Seattle, WA
No part of this video was Palmer's idea -- this was contrived completely by Terence Donovan... Donovan also produced every part and parcel of it...
- Terri, Seattle, WA
Some of this information is not factual at all... No one was sent in to teach guitar, other than very quick, general finger placement... The models played none of the actual music -- it was air guitar, and badly executed air guitar at that... I am stunned at Mak Gilchrists published comments because Palmer wasn't even present when this was taped, so she couldn't have hit him in the head, etc... There was also no wine -- we were in and out within about 1/2 hour (start to finish)... This is one of the earliest dubbing formats executed at that time -- I believe Palmer was in NY when the background was shot for this video... I can't say Mak wasn't in others of his videos using this same look, but she wasn't in Addicted to Love... There are other www sources citing the names of the models employed for this video -- most of the names provided as the models present are incorrect, with the exception of 2 of those names...
- Terri, Seattle, WA
The "Addicted to Love" music video was clearly spoofed by British actor Bill Nighy for his song "Christmas is All Around" in the Britcom "Love Actually" (2003).
- John, Dublin, Ireland
It was also parodied in the 80s by Dance Like a Mother in the 'You Ain't so tough' video with a bunch of male models, some of whom went on to be quite successful.
- Manjir, Buxton, United Kingdom
What I heard is that when Palmer wrote the song he had a dream that he was being backed up by an all-girl band just like the video. So they reproduced his dream. Later on, as he got a big following, women showed up at his concerts dressed like those models, which he hated. He was asked what he would like to say to them, and he said, "a little less makeup, please?"
- TheGripester, Wellington, New Zealand
the girl on the keyboard was not Susie Verrico
it was Lisa E. Brown originally from Kacksonville, Fl.
and I can prove it.
she also did other videos with Robert Palmer songs
remember the shower scene with the water goggles??
that was Lisa also.
- rudy, miami, FL
Shirley from N.J.: It's about a girl who can't face the signs of falling in love. Palmer is, rather, the one who can see it in her eyes & tells her to stop fighting it.
By the way, has anyone else noticed that Palmer sounds so much like Springsteen the Boss when in his tenor voice? Compare this one, for instance, to the Boss's "Glory Days". The 2 tenor voices sound the same, do they not? Palmer & the Boss would sound awesome in a trio w/ Bob Seger!
- Andy, B'ham, AL
I prefer to see shirtless hairy chested men performing.But it seems that showing bare chested men is too erotic.Robert Palmer should,ve shown his bare chest to satisfy me.But this is a very good song anyway.
- john, Brisbane, United States
The song is about the drug X not cocaine. Simply Irresistible was his song about cocaine.
- Brian, Dallas, TX
Palmer got airplay on "progressive" radio stations with "Sneaking Sally through the Alley," Sailin' Shoes" (a Little Feat song), "I Didn't mean to Turn You On," several songs with the band Power Station (Bang a Gong, Some Like It Hot), and others. You'll still hear these songs on radio stations that have broad playlists.
"Simply Irresistable" is the other song/video Palmer made with the girl "band."
- Pat, Albuquerque, NM
Julia from London - I have this song on Robert Palmer's CD "Addictions Vol. 1", and the liner notes do say that this song was going to be Addicted To Drugs.

If you replace "love" with "drugs" in this song, I think this song still makes sense, and maybe even a little more sense. :) Other lines would change subtly, too (i.e., "One more kiss is all you need" -> "One more hit is all you need").
- Eric, Bend, OR
Remember this song from the 80's The girls are totaly hot. Their emotionless searious demeaner gives them a kind of power. Plus I have this wicked short hair fetish. I hope women NEVER stop dressing up like the palmer girls!
- Chip Bell, Amargosa Valley, OH
I love all the theories about the songs meaning. Plant himself ststed thst the song is about cocaine addiction.
- Gilbert, Manchester, England
In case that any chemist would look at this page, there is a brilliant youtube video named "Resistant to base", which used the tone of this song, but change the lyrics to a collection of terms from organic chemistry. The video featured four terrible looking woman in lab coats pretending to play the instruments. Very funny.
- Jia, Siegen, Germany
Robert Plamer rocked, he was classy and very talented. Was standard to see him in the good ol days of MTV
- PHIL, San Jose, CA

Agree 100%. He left us way too soon. This was back when MTV was actually fun to watch.
- George, Baltimore, MD
The girls are not all dressed the same. Their dresses are different lengths.
- John, Mt. Vernon, NY
I also like his version of Bad Case Of Loving You, which was written and recorded by Moon Martin in 1978.
- Phil, Borrego Springs, CA
This song was featured in a dream sequence on 'Northern Exposure' with Fleishman fronting the video. All the chicks wanna do it with him but Joel explains that he has never consummated a wet dream. The music ends and he wakes up. Hilarious.
- rob, vancouver, Canada
This song, and some footage from its video, were used in a 60-second spot promoting the ABC TV series Lost that aired during Super Bowl XL. The chorus was digitally edited to "Might as well face it, you're addicted to Lost."
- Joshua, Twin Cities, MN
I think this is one of those songs that you can hear over and over again. And never get sick of it!
- Julian, Anaheim, CA
Never seen video, wanna though
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
Tone Loc use the same idea for his video "Wild Thing"
- mirza, jakarta, Indonesia
i believe shania twain was one of the girls doing backup
- Suzi, Charleston , SC
So, if you take out the elements of rock and add in elements of country, it'd be a country song?

Hell, you could do that with any song. I could turn rage against the machine into country if I took out the guitar, "sung it twangy" and added fiddles.
- John, Millersville, MD
The girl standing to the left of Palmer is Mary Matson (former model in the 80's). She is now an on-line jewler www.latterman.com. She is still "hot"
- BOB, Jerome, AZ
Wierd Al Yankovic did a parody of this called "Addicted To Spuds".
- Ken, Louisville, KY
If I were a Nashville country song, I would jump all over this song. It basically is a country song. Sing it twangy, replace guitar solo with fiddle, add a few whip cracks, record, collect wheelbarrows of money.
- craig, madison, WI
The video was super-controvertial when it came out, with very few people getting the joke mocking how women are treated by the media. Impossibly attractive brainless robots who all should look the fashion. It means even more today than it did 20 years ago. Good going society!
- craig, madison, WI
I agree with you Tom! it's a great song!
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Robert Plamer rocked, he was classy and very talented. Was standard to see him in the good ol days of MTV
- PHIL, San Jose, CA
Shania Twain parodied the video for this in her video for "Man! I Feel Like A Woman", where she was performing in front of a group of topless male 'hunks' acting as her backing band.
- Roy, london, England
Not sure if anyone has noticed, but moving from the left of the screen (his right) the girls start very thin and get a little more chunky (no insult intended) as we reach the one on the far right. Not sure if this is intentional or not.
- Dave, Leon, Mexico
Robert Palmer was probably one of the most innovative, original, and truly gifted artists we've ever known and ironically the world only knows him primarily for Addicted to Love and songs like that from the Riptide album.There was so much more to Robert Palmer than just an 80's pop artist. His experipentation with world music before it was termed "world music" using latin and African rythmns to influence his sound long before it was "cool". I treasure the albums I have of him and sadly there will be no more.
- Geri, Nova Scotia, Canada
i heard that the song's original title was addicted to drugs, but robert palmer changed it, because he thought it would be too contraversial
- julia, london, England
He's obviously trying to fight all the signs of falling in love, but he's not succeeding; he's falling anyway and succumbing to it.
- Shirley, Ocean, NJ
i heard a romour it was about cocaine addiction but i guess addictive personialty coincides with that
- jason, wylie, TX
I just LOVE this song! I wouldn't believe it if someone told me they didn't like it!
- Tom, Trowbridge, England
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