Wednesday, May 6, 2009

POWER STATION- The Definitive Eighties Super Group

In late 1984 the supergroup Power Station was formed by Duran Duran members John Taylor (bass) and Andy Taylor (guitar), and Chic drummer Tony Thompson, and British solo star Robert Palmer on vocals. Duran Duran was on hiatus; vocalist Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and drummer Roger Taylor formed the splinter group Arcadia, sounding much in the Duran Duran tradition.

John and Andy Taylor, however, wanted to go into a heavier sound, more power oriented and guitar driven. It has been said that the genesis for the band was a one time meeting with model/actress Bebe Buell, who wanted to record a version of the old T-Rex song GET IT ON (BANG A GONG). Chic's Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson became involved in the project, but it never reached fruition.

A plan was devised for John, Andy, and Tony to go into the studio and have different lead singers on each track of new material. Robert Palmer sang the vocal on COMMUNICATION. Palmer heard the demo of GET IT ON featuring the trio, and added vocals to it. It was decided to go with Palmer as lead singer on all of the tracks...and the band POWER STATION was born, named after the studio where the first studio album was recorded.

February 16, 1985 was the only time that Robert Palmer performed live with POWER STATION in its first incarnation. They played GET IT ON and SOME LIKE IT HOT on Saturday Night Live, and in March the album POWER STATION was released. It was a hit, as were the singles GET IT ON and SOME LIKE IT HOT. A summer tour of the United States was booked following this success, but Robert Palmer opted out of the group to return to his solo career.

For the tour singer Michael Des Barres was added to the lineup. This configuration was the group that played the Philadelphia segment of Live-Aid in the summer of 1985.

Des Barres was a friend of Miami Vice star Don Johnson, and the band played on a VICE show while in the United States. POWER STATION folded by the end of 1985. Andy Taylor went solo, John Taylor back to Duran Duran, Thompson and Des Barres on to other projects.

POWER STATION regrouped for a second album in 1996, LIVING IN FEAR. The lineup included Robert Palmer, but before the completion of the project John Taylor opted out. Bernard Edwards stepped in on bass, but tragedy struck when he died of pneumonia. Guy Pratt, a sideman with PINK FLOYD (among others), became the bass player for the tour (later replaced by Manny Yanes), and they also added a second guitarist, Luke Morley. Shortly after the tour, POWER STATION broke up for good.

Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson both died in 2003. The Taylors rejoined the reunited Duran Duran in 2001, but Andy Taylor left the lineup in 2006, leaving Duran Duran's lineup today as; Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor.

Below, the classic 1980's videos of GET IT ON (BANG A GONG) and SOME LIKE IT HOT, featuring Robert Palmer on vocals. And then we have POWER STATION with Michael Des Barres in their appearance on MIAMI VICE, playing GET IT ON.

Rock on, Crockett and Tubbs!

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