Great Rock Albums of 1988: Robert Palmer- Heavy Nova

Coming off the huge success of his previous album, “Riptide,” Robert Palmer was back and in fine form with “Heavy Nova.” Getting right to the point here, I think that the reason why Robert was so successful in the late 1980s was the versatility of both albums. There is something in many of the songs which had mass appeal. Take the first single from the album, “Simply Irresistible.” It starts with with an acoustic intro which wouldn’t be out of place on a metal album. Furthermore, while there are synths on the song, they don’t dominate. The same with the guitar. It’s definitely there but not dominating as it would in a metal song, although the guitar solo in the middle is killer. What I like about it is that you can’t pigeon hole it and the combination works really well.

Three of the next four songs follow the path set down by “Simply Irresistible.” They walk the fine line between hard rock and synth pop with out fully stepping into the either territory. Saying that, I do like the bassline on “More Than Ever” and there is some African influence in “Change His Ways.” The odd song out in this string is “Disturbing Behaviour.” This is more of a rocker and I can envision a metal band playing it. All they needed to do was turn the guitar up a few more octaves and it would be killer. Still, it gets my vote for hidden gem.

In the second half of the album, Robert goes more rat pack or so it seems. He sounds like he could be either Andy Williams or Nat King Cole on the track “It Could Happen to You.” Then again, the song was originally written in 1943 and fair credit to him, it shows that he can sing outside his comfort zone and make it sound good. Okay, we don’t know for sure if he could sing thrash metal but who cares? Then there is the more popular single, (at least to me), on the album, “She Makes My Day.” I remember this one better than “Simply Irresistible” even though it’s a ballad but again, we get further proof of Rob’s versatile singing voice. It also helps he has some great musicians behind him.

Track Listing:

  1. Simply Irresistible
  2. More Than Ever
  3. Change His Ways
  4. Disturbing Behaviour
  5. Early in the Morning
  6. It Could Happen to You
  7. She Makes My Day
  8. Between Us
  9. Casting a Spell
  10. Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming
Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer- lead and backing vocals

William Bryant- keyboards

Mishna Schneider- keyboards

Jeff Bova- additional keyboards

Richard Gibbs- additional keyboards

Garth Hudson- accordion, additional keyboards

Tom T-Bone Wolk- accordion

Eddie Martinez- guitar

Dennis Budimir- additional guitar

John Grey- additional guitar, additional percussion

Frank Blair- bass

Barry ‘Sun John’ Johnson- additional bass

Dony Wynn- drums

Rikki Fataar- additional drums

Dom Um Romao- percussion, additional backing vocals

Robyn Lobe- additional percussion

Chuck Findley- trumpet

Luka Belak- violin

Clare Fischer- stings

Rick Danko- additional backing vocals

B.J. Nelson- additional backing vocals

I bought “Heavy Nova” for my then wife as a birthday present in 1989 and for some reason, she didn’t play it much around me. Maybe she thought it wasn’t my cup of tea and she could have been partially right at the time. However, I do appreciate this album much more these days.

Next post: Big Country- Peace in Our Time

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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8 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1988: Robert Palmer- Heavy Nova”

  1. Simply irresistible. ❤️🎸😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Early in the Morning” was a good tune from this LP. Mr Palmer put on a good show while performing live in concert.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gone way too soon. I never liked too many of his albums in total, but always some really choice cuts though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really nice stuff on this one. Dude’s songs were everywhere in the late 80’s just as I was really getting into music.

    Liked by 1 person

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