My record collection is, as I have mentioned more than once, quite the eclectic mix. This track represents a decision (which may have been conscious) to be a little more cool.
Let’s face it, Robert Palmer was the epitome of cool. Bowie apart, I think that there was no rock star quite as cool in the 80s.
After the hit singles that Palmer had with the Power Station, this was the second single from his 1985 Album of the same name. The first, Discipline of Love, released in late 1985, had pretty much bombed, reaching only number 95 in the UK singles chart.
This one didn’t really fare much better, making only number 85 in the chart on its release in 1986. My copy is a gatefold double issue with Palmer’s 1980 single Johnny and Mary. I probably would have bought this for the Johnny and Mary as it was quite well known.
Riptide was originally written by Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson, one of the most prolific composer / lyricist duos from New York’s Tin Pan Alley.
The song describes the singer’s angst at having to make a choice between two loves. One love (the old?), it seems, is steady and devoted. The other (the new?) is offering something altogether more exciting. To mix the metaphors, perhaps the singer fears that the grass might not be greener on the other side?
Following on from Riptide, of course we had the huge smash that was Addicted to Love, followed by Hyperactive and I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.