Robert Palmer: Every Kinda People
Caribbean sounds and Marvin Gaye crooning makes the best of Palmer’s first export to American shores
Before MTV turned him into one of their darling poster children of Eighties pop, Robert Palmer was confined to audiences in the UK. But with an infectious funky rhythm lifted up by Sly & the Family Stone “Everyday People” philosophy (“Whether yellow, black or white/Each and every man’s the same inside”) and Marvin Gaye-esque crooning, “Every Kinda People” became Palmer’s first major export to American shores. It became his first Top 20 hit, jumping to number 16 pop in 1978. There’s a celestial slew of strings, Caribbean steel pan add-ons and island-friendly instrumentation attached to its three minutes of airplay. As it fades, you’re left hungry for more. The song wasn’t penned by Palmer, as some have been led to assume. Instead it was constructed by Andy Fraser, member of rock band Free and composer of that band’s biggest hit, “All Right Now.” Proving the song’s irresistible nature, artists like Amy Grant and Randy Crawford have all covered it. Fun fact: The groovy bass line is supplied by Motown legend Bob Babbitt, who laid down important groundwork with the Funk Brothers and provided the bass on Marvin Gaye’s landmark album, What’s Going On.