Flashback Video: 'Addicted to Love' by Robert Palmer
Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.
This issue we will cover "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer. Robert Palmer had been around for a while, but he made his true pop breakthrough in 1986 after the release of his eighth studio album Riptide. In particular, it was the album's second single "Addicted to Love" which really garnered him plenty of attention. The single entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in February of that year and would reach #1 in May. Some of that success (maybe a lot of it) can certainly be attributed to the song's iconic music video.
Interestingly, this could have been a much different song and probably music video because it was originally intended to be a duet with Chaka Khan, but ended up being recorded without her because her record company at the time would not grant her a release to work on Palmer's label, Island Records.
The "Addicted to Love" music video was directed by Terence Donovan, an English photographer and film director, most noted for his fashion photography of the '60s. Donovan had previously directed the 1985 music video for Howard Jones' "Life in One Day". Together, Donovan and Palmer came up with the idea to feature Palmer performing the song backed by a "band" of emotionless group of mannequin-like models who were dressed and heavily made-up and styled alike. It was surprisingly sexy with their tight black dresses, bright red lipstick, pouty faces and slicked back hair holding their instruments while swaying back and forth to the rhythm. The five models in the video are Julie Pankhurst (keyboard), Patty Kelly (guitar), Mak Gilchrist (bass guitar), Julia Bolino (guitar), and Kathy Davies (drums). Gilchrist had done commercials; Bolino and Davies had been in other music videos, but Pankhurst and Elias were just starting out. None of the girls actually knew how to play the musical instruments. In fact, it was reported that a musician was hired to teach the models basic fingering techniques, but gave up after about an hour and left. You can kind of notice each girl was keeping her own time and moving to a slightly different beat at times, but it still seemed to work regardless.
The video helped catapult Palmer into pop super stardom and is considered one of the most memorable and influential music videos of the decade. With all that said, enjoy the music video for "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer...
As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Donovan would return to direct the music videos for Palmer's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" and 1988's "Simply Irresistible" using a very similar concept with a band of models behind him.
At the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, "Addicted to Love" won the Best Male Video award, but lost out to Dire Straits "Money For Nothing" in the Video of the Year category. In 1987, Palmer won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for "Addicted to Love". The song is featured in a memorable scene from the 1988 film Cocktail starring Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown which is also included on my Top Singing Scenes from '80s Movies list.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!