Friday 4/8/22 10pm ET: Feature LP: Robert Palmer – Clues (1980)

Clues is the sixth studio album by Robert Palmer, released September 26, 1980. It has a rockier, new wave edge compared to his previous releases. The album peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart and No. 31 in the UK in 1980. The album also peaked at No. 1 in Sweden, No. 3 in France, No. 15 in the Netherlands and No. 42 in Italy. Donald Guarisco of AllMusic described Clues as “one of Robert Palmer’s strongest and most consistent albums”, despite being somewhat short at 31 minutes.

Palmer, who played percussion on Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, had the favor returned when the band’s drummer Chris Frantz played bass drum on “Looking for Clues” along with Palmer’s drummer, Dony Wynn. Andy Fraser, the former bassist of Free and the author of Palmer’s first breakthrough single “Every Kinda People”, played bass on the album on two songs. New wave musician Gary Numan co-wrote a song with Palmer (another co-write between the two appearing on Maybe It’s Live) and played keyboards on a remake of his own song “I Dream of Wires”. This was first issued on CD in 1985 when Island’s catalogue was issued under WEA Manufacturing. The WEA pressings are sought-after collector’s items.

The video to the first track on the album, “Looking for Clues”, aired on MTV’s first day of broadcasting, on August 1, 1981.

“Looking for Clues” – 4:52
“Sulky Girl” – 4:07
“Johnny and Mary” – 3:59
“What Do You Care” – 2:44
“I Dream of Wires” – 4:34
“Woke Up Laughing” – 3:36
“Not a Second Time” – 2:48
“Found You Now” – 4:37

Robert Palmer – vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums (track 6), percussion, production
Dony Wynn – drums
Jack Waldman – keyboards
Kenny Mazur – guitar (tracks 1, 2, 7)
Chris Frantz – drums (track 1)
Andy Fraser – bass guitar (tracks 2, 7)
Alan Mansfield – guitar (track 3)
Paul Gardiner – bass guitar (track 5)
Gary Numan – keyboards (track 5)