At the age of 15, Palmer joined his first band, The Mandrakes, but his major break came in 1969 when he was invited to sing with The Alan Bown Set, after the departure of singer Jess Roden. A brief spell with jazz-rock band Dada followed before Palmer formed rhythm and blues group Vinegar Joe with Elkie Brooks and released three albums. The group's label Island Records signed Palmer to a solo deal and his first album Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley was released in 1974. Palmer's style became eclectic with further albums influenced by reggae and Caribbean rock, but he moved in a more rock-heavy direction with 1979's Secrets. In 1983, Palmer joined rock ensemble Power Station, enjoying success with several hits including Some Like It Hot, before leaving to record his 1985 solo album Riptide; the video for the single Addicted To Love featuring Palmer surrounded by models in little black dresses and blood-red lipstick was to become iconic. His follow-up album in 1998, Heavy Nova, continued to play on his suave theme, but in 1990 he returned to his earlier more diverse output with Don't Explain, followed by cabaret-influenced Ridin' High in 1992. After mixed success with four further albums, in 2003 Palmer stormed back with blues album Drive. Unfortunately, in September 2003 Palmer died suddenly after a heart attack, at the age of 54.