Hubcap Diamond Star Halo

Searches are down here at the ranch, but this one is one of those snippets that’ll drive you mad if you don’t know where to find it.

Of course, if you’re really old and paid attention, you know that ‘hubcap diamond star halo’ is a line from the T. Rex song “Bang a Gong” which was covered by the incomparable Robert Palmer (working with the Duran Duran boys as Power Station.)

A review at Amazon calls T. Rex “one of the most influential rock acts of the ’70s.” Either I wasn’t paying attention, or that’s fairly hyperbolic (and I’ve been told more than once that I’m given to hyperbole, so I know whereof I speak. Probably.) Although, if Bowie and Rod Stewart were at his funeral (Bolan was killed in a car crash on 16 September 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday) perhaps I should give it a think.

Robert Palmer probably wasn’t as influential as he should have been, though he lived almost a quarter-century longer than Bolan.

Robert Palmer and Jools

Bit by bit we’ve been catching up on Later with Jools Holland (who is a story in himself.) While Best Beloved was doing other things, I thought I’d have a look at the last time Robert Palmer was on the show. He’d be surrounded by a gaggle of lessers, which made me suspect he’d get a single shot and be off; probably not worth dragging Best Beloved in from what she was doing.

One of the others was Macy Gray. Hearing her voice again, watching her perform I Try, I realized I’d forgotten what an astonishing voice she has.

Somehow I developed an uninformed attitude about Mary Chapin Carpenter at some point in the past. She sang Party Doll from Mick Jagger’s solo album. It melted me.

Palmer performed, not once, but thrice: with choir and band (Stone Cold), with David Grant and Jools doing a vocals and piano version of Lowell George’s Twenty Million Things, and ending the show with the choir doing Pride a capella. Palmer’s vocal control in each performance is perfect; it’s obvious his voice is doing exactly what he intends. As someone who merely carries a tune while wishing I was a real singer, it was glorious watching it done right.

I decided Best Beloved should see it after all. (When Pride snapped to its finish, she stared blankly for a moment, then laughed out loud. It takes work to get a reaction like that from her. Most gratifying.)

Robert Palmer, 54; Heart Attack

MRobert Palmer's 'Addictions'r. Simply Irresistable died of a heart attack in Paris yesterday, 25 September 2003. He’d had a checkup two weeks earlier and received a clean bill of health.

Despite the apparent superficiality of “Addicted to Love” and the associated iconic video, Palmer was a brilliant writer and performer.

So, we’ll drop John Ritter and add Robert Palmer.