ROBERT PALMER ONCE LOST A BET over the chart position of his only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single, “Addicted to Love.”
In 2003, a few months before his death from a heart attack on Sept. 26 at age 54, the urbane English pop-soul singer told the U.K. tabloid Daily Mail that in 1986, as “Addicted” was ascending the chart on its way to No. 1 (on May 3, 1986), “We were flying from Tokyo to Hawaii and had to stop in Guam. We had made a bet as to what number the electric guitar- and keyboard-driven [‘Addicted’] was going to be, and [after ringing up Billboard], I lost. I bet on No. 2, but it went to No. 1!”
A natty dresser, Palmer had bet “a black and white cashmere cloak,” but, he said, “I ended up winning it back the following week,” when he guessed the song would fall to No. 2. (It did.)
“Addicted” was the then-37-year-old singer’s solo breakthrough hit, more than a decade after his first solo album, 1974’s Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley. Palmer previously had racked up two top 10 singles as part of the supergroup Power Station in 1985, including “Some Like It Hot.” “Addicted” is best-remembered for its Terence Donovan-directed music video, which features five blank-faced women in identical outfits as his backing band. The concept proved a winning recipe: Palmer released two more videos using a similar theme for “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” and “Simply Irresistible.” The three singles are his only solo top 10 Hot 100 hits.
A version of this article first appeared in the May 9, 2015, issue of Billboard magazine.