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The Powerstation


On 23 July Duran Duran's charity concert at Villa Park 1983 took place in aid of Mencap. Duran Duran had been known to be big fans of Robert Palmer so he was invited to take part.

After Duran Duran's third album Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the members of the band went on a planned short hiatus, going into two projects. One of these was the band Arcadia, which maintained the melodic and atmospheric aspects of Duran Duran's previous recordings. The other was The Power Station, in which John and Andy Taylor worked with Palmer, Thompson, and Edwards to create a rhythmic, harder rock, funk sound. Roger Taylor was mainly the drummer for Arcadia but also contributed percussion to The Power Station.

The group began as something of a whim — it was a one-time gathering of friends to provide backing to model and would-be singer Bebe Buell who wanted to record a cover of the 1972 T. Rex song "Get It On (Bang A Gong)". Both John and Andy Taylor were eager to branch out from the synthesizer-heavy pop of Duran Duran and play some Led Zeppelin-flavored rock and roll. The participation of their idols from Chic lent the project a horn-inflected funk vibe that meshed surprisingly well with the crunching guitars and booming drums.

Soon the project evolved into the idea of a revolving supergroup; a tentative name for the band was Big Brother. The original plan for the one-album project was for the three musicians (Taylor, Taylor and Thompson) to provide musical continuity to an album full of material, with a different singer performing on each track. Those who were approached included Mick Jagger, Billy Idol, Mars Williams, and Richard Butler (of The Psychedelic Furs), and Mick Ronson.

The group then invited Robert Palmer to record vocals for the track "Communication." When he heard that they had recorded demos for "Get It On (Bang A Gong)," he asked to try out vocals on that song as well. Before long, they had decided to record the entire album with Palmer. The group was quickly signed with Capitol Records.

Power Station was a 1980s supergroup made up of singer Robert Palmer; bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor of Duran Duran; and former Chic drummer Tony Thompson.
Power Station was named after The Power Station recording studio where their album was conceived and recorded.
On February 16, 1985, the band performed "Some Like It Hot" and "Bang A Gong" on the Saturday Night Live television show. It was the only time that Robert Palmer performed live with the original line-up.
The band folded late in 1985, as its members turned to other projects: John Taylor returned to Duran Duran, while Andy Taylor chose to leave Duran Duran in favour of a solo career. Tony Thompson was to take the place of John Bonham in a re-formed Led Zeppelin, but he was nearly killed in a 1986 car accident before that reunion could get off the ground. The reformed Led Zeppelin only played one gig at the Philadelphia Live Aid concert in 1985. Palmer continued his revitalized solo career.

 

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