Great Rock Albums of 1986: Robert Palmer- Riptide


One of the most memorable images of early 1986, compliments of MTV, was Robert Palmer’s video for one of his most successful singles of all time, “Addicted to Love,” from the album “Riptide.” It wasn’t Rob, it was the five lovely ladies in the video who made up his ‘band.’ That video was very heavily requested back then and I suspect most of those calls came from young men. However, even if the video was never made and we didn’t get to see those ladies, “Addicted to Love” is the best single on the album. While the guitar riff was toned down to meet the synth pop requirements of 1980s, it still is prominent in the song and it was enough to satisfy a metalhead in search of heavier power chords.

Even though my search for power chords was satisfied over three decades ago and I listen to “Riptide” with a more open mind, I still think the rest of the album is too synth pop for my liking. The proof in the pudding is the second track, “Hyperactive,” a total pop tune. I even prefer the night club act sounding opening title track to this one.

Further evidence that popular music and I were heading in different directions is presented in Robert’s second and to my surprise, more successful in the singles charts, single “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.” It might have been a success back then but it had no influence on me to the point I had forgotten about it. Give me “Addicted to Love” any day.

Being the split personality Gemini that I am, (note: I don’t go for that zodiac nonsense), there are some decent non synth pop tracks on here. Robert returns to his blues influences on “Get It Through Your Heart.” Not a great tune but better than the synth pop. There is one hidden gem on “Riptide,” which comes in the form of “Trick Bag.” It’s a cover of a song from jazz artist, Earl King, who Palmer sites as one of his influences. But even that’s not enough to make up for the synth pop on the rest of the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Riptide
  2. Hyperactive
  3. Addicted to Love
  4. Get It Through Your Heart
  5. Trick Bag
  6. I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On
  7. Flesh Wound
  8. Discipline of Love
  9. Riptide- reprise


Robert Palmer and his famous MTV band

Robert Palmer- vocals

Tony Thompson- drums, except tracks 5 & 8

Dony Wind- drums, tracks 5 & 8

Bernard Edwards- bass, except for track 8

Guy Pratt- bass, track 8

Eddie Martinez- guitar

Andy Taylor- guitar, track 3

Wally Badarou, Jeff Bova, Jack Waldman- keyboards

Lenny Pickett- saxophone

Benny Diggs, Fonzi Thornton- backing vocals, tracks 3 & 8

Chaka Khan- vocal arrangement, track 3

In spite of what I’ve said about “Riptide,” it doesn’t take away from the fact that Robert Palmer is an excellent singer. Even on the synth pop tracks, his vocals show his talent and that too contributed to the album’s commercial success. Still, it wasn’t an album for most metalheads.

Next Post: Van Halen- 5150

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12 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Robert Palmer- Riptide”

  1. Great review. This album blew up everywhere back in 86. I mean that third track got ya moving n grooving now didn’t it!? I only ever had the cassette tape of it and it didn’t have the credits but it’s cool that he had 3/4’s of the Powerstation on this album.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was surprised at how much I loved this record when it was released, as it was significantly different than anything I was enjoying at the time. I think it was the massive drum sound that drew me in, and then the songs grew on me. I especially love “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On.” I think it had been a dance hit for a female singer a year or two earlier so I couldn’t believe he included it on the record, but his version is so funky. I played the album again about a year ago and even though it is clearly date-stamped to the mid-’80s it held up really well for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never seen that album cover before – it’s kind of creepy….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Source: Great Rock Albums of 1986: Robert Palmer- Riptide | 80smetalman’s Blog […]


  5. I missed this one. I’m a big fan of Palmer (a recent development) and I really like this one. As Rich had said, it’s definitely an album of its time, but it’s held up well. He was clearly influenced by his time in The Power Station and while it’s a very commercial sounding album, there are some of his creative detours there (especially Riptide, that’s enough to through you). Overall, it’s nowhere near Palmer’s best, but this is a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

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