Saturday, December 4, 2021

"Early in the Morning" by Robert Palmer

Song#:  3691
Date:  10/22/1988
Debut:  71
Peak:  19
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Rock, Pop

Pop Bits:  Palmer's ninth album Heavy Nova got a significant boost when its first single, "Simply Irresistible" nearly topped the Pop chart peaking at #2. It was an original tune written by Palmer as was "Addicted to Love" (#1 Pop), the first single from his previous album, the double-platinum Riptide. Also like Riptide, Heavy Nova included a couple of cover tunes. Riptide's second single was the Cherrelle cover "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" (#2 Pop). Since that sequence worked out for Riptide, Palmer chose to follow suit with the new album and for a second single pushed out this R&B cover tune. Unfortunately it didn't do as well on the Pop chart stalling just inside the Top 20. It also made a brief appearance on the Rock chart at #40. Still, without a second major hit the album performed well getting to #17 and going platinum.

ReduxReview:  Palmer attempted to replicate the success of his "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" cover with this early-80s gem. He did an admirable job of transforming The Gap Band's electro-funk groove into an R&B-influenced synth-rock jam, however in the end it just wasn't quite as strong or memorable as his Cherrelle cover. The single's Top 20 showing was appropriate. It was a good listen, but the song quickly faded after its chart run and is rarely heard these days. It quickly got overshadowed by Palmer's other big hits.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by The Gap Band. Their 1982 single would be a big hit at R&B reaching #1. It also crossed over to the Pop chart where it became the band's best effort peaking at #24.  2) In 2021, former Nirvana drummer and front man of Foo Fighters Dave Grohl began a free-form interview series called From Cradle to Stage. For the show, Grohl would interview a prominent musician along with their mother. The show's second episode had Grohl meeting up with Pharrell and his mother Carolyn. During a solo interview segment with Pharrell, Grohl brought up that when he started drumming, his influences were the disco and R&B sounds of the late-70s/early-80. He pointed out The Gap Band as being a particular influence and stated that his drumming in Nirvana, such as on the classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit," was basically lifted from The Gap Band. As an example, he said that the big 1-2 drum beats at the beginning of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was akin to the ones that started The Gap Band's "Early in the Morning."


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