Barry Palmer (British singer)
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Biography and career
Barry Palmer - UK Singer - Biography
Barry Palmer (British Singer) is one of contemporary music’s best kept secrets.
Worcestershire born UK singer Barry Palmer commenced his singing career in the early 1970s when he joined Scarborough based band Brave New World as their lead singer.
Brave New World were formed in 1968. They were a five piece band who played all their own original material but were also heavily influenced by bands such as Family, Fairport Convention and Wishbone Ash etc.
They were runners up in the first ever ‘Melody Maker’ semi-pro band competition, which as a result, prompted several recording contract offers.
This also raised their profile substantially, enabling them to play nationally at high profile gigs such as the Marquee and Roundhouse (London). They also supported the well known band at that time, Lindisfarne.
They drew such attention at the time that they appeared on a couple of television spots for a local Yorkshire television program and also the BBC. They eventually disbanded in 1972/73.
Barry Palmer stayed with Brave New World for around two years before leaving the band to pursue a solo singing career in 1973.
On leaving the band, as Barry Joe Palmer, Barry then released his first ever single almost immediately, a track titled Always. This was quickly followed the following year (1974) with the release of a second single titled Getaway which was heavily influenced by the style of Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex.
This was the period when chart music was totally dominated by Glam Rock bands such as the Bay City Rollers, Suzi Quatro, Mud, Smokie, Hot Chocolate to name just a few.
Barry Palmer's early solo career was quick to be instantly highlighted by his 1974 No. 2 U.K. chart smash hit The Bump, which was the third track of three of a studio incarnation of a pop star called Kenny. The previous two tracks were Give It to Me Now (1973) and Heart of Stone (1973) both of which charted.
Later that year Barry Palmer’s voice appeared on ‘Top of the Pops’ where in 1974, he sang lead and backing vocals on the major British and European No. 2 chart hit The Bump even though he himself did not appear. The song was in fact Barry singing under the pseudonym of 'Kenny'
The story behind The Bump was that London based songwriters and record producers Bill Martin and his partner Phil Coulter had secured a contract with Mickie Most (RAK Records) for a three song deal and had engaged the vocal services of an Irish singer by the name of Paul Kenny to help them fulfil this contract.
After the second of his two songs Heart of Stone (1973) Paul Kenny became extremely homesick and without any warning to anyone, suddenly up and left and returned to his native Ireland, thus leaving Bill Martin and Phil Coulter in the lurch and one track short of their contracted three track deal with Mickie Most.
Paul Kenny had a falsetto high pitched type voice and having left and returned to Ireland, Martin and Coulter were forced to go on the hunt for a male singer with a similar falsetto type voice to sing and perform their third contracted outstanding track.
As a result of seeing Barry Palmer singing in London with his former band Brave New World, they quickly realised that Barry could easily sing falsetto in an almost identical manner to that of Paul Kenny and therefore they recruited him to sing and record The Bump.
In return, Barry wanted to release a single himself and therefore simultaneously recorded a cover of Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed under the stage / release name of DC Palmer.
Both songs were released, however Maybe I’m Amazed failed to chart whilst The Bump quickly became a monster hit, eventually reaching No 2 in the UK charts.
With The Bump steadily rising in the charts, Barry was then asked to appear personally on ‘Top of the Pops’ as Kenny but he refused as he felt very uncomfortable at being asked to falsely perform under the pseudonym of Kenny.
Following Barry’s refusal to appear, Martin and Coulter then came up with the idea of totally reinventing Kenny in the form of a Glam Rock band.
This was at the time when Glam Rock bands such as Bay City Rollers etc. were huge and totally dominating the charts.
This decision quickly resulted in Martin and Coulter desperately touring a number of North London rehearsal rooms where by chance, they came across a five piece Rock Band called 'The Chuff'
The Chuff were offered the chance of reinventing themselves and becoming Kenny. They jumped at the chance and as they say, the rest is history.
Their first single was in fact, Barry Palmer’s version of The Bump (previously a Bay City Rollers' b-side)
When the band Kenny had their first apparent hit with The Bump in late 1974, you could be forgiven for thinking that yet another teen-band had been recruited via adverts in The Stage.
In fact The Chuff were all London boys from Enfield whose musical roots went back to the beginning of the decade. They were previously a group called Legend, playing standard blues-rock music and covers of that era.
Legend subsequently evolved into The Chuff, a Prog-rock outfit who eventually got to play at prestigious gigs like the Windsor Free Festival.
Almost immediately after reinventing themselves, the new Kenny appeared on ‘Top of the Pops’ miming to the lead and backing vocals of Barry Palmer on The Bump.
Consequently they had a huge chart hit as a result. The Bump made No 2 in the UK Singles Chart in early 1975. (See YouTube)
The Bump was rapidly followed by Fancy Pants, Baby I Love You OK and for some fans, their best track of all, Julie Ann. Admittedly that was the total sum of their chart hits and success.
There was just the one album from the band, The Sound of Super K, and for a year or so, Kenny were a great act before eventually completely disappearing from the UK music scene.
As for Barry Palmer? his lead & backing vocals on The Bump went totally unrecognised and unaccredited. He just received a fee for his vocal services just like any other session singer.
Barry Palmer then began writing his own material and shortly afterwards, answered an Ad in "The Melody Maker" placed by a Jürgen Fritz whose hugely successful German Progressive Rock band Triumvirat were looking for a new lead vocalist, as their lead singer Helmut Köllen, had just quit the band. Barry sent Jürgen a copy demo tape of his single Maybe I’m Amazed.
Fate clearly played a huge part in these events because this track just happened to be Jürgen Fritz’s favourite track at that time.
Consequently Barry secured the vacant position as lead singer with Triumvirat.
Triumvirat were a classic seventies German Progressive Rock band of the time, and were considered by many to be one of the most talented progressive rock groups ever.
The band performed a kind of highly technical progressive kind of rock music which was dominated by emphatic and pompous keyboards that strongly evoked very close similarities to that of the superb Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
Led by 'maestro' keyboard genius Jürgen Fritz, Triumvirat stunned even the most casual rock fan with their virtuoso performances featuring the legendary vocal work of both Barry Palmer and Helmut Köllen, and the technically superior drumming of Hans Bathelt and Curt Cress.
Their first song recording together with Barry Palmer was Take a Break Today (1975)
Triumvirat's new line-up began writing and recording new progressive / classical style music again with Barry Palmer as their lead vocalist, who also shared lyricist duties.
Over the following three years, Triumvirat or New Triumvirat as they were then called released three studio albums with Barry Palmer performing lead and backing vocals on the band’s progressive rock classic albums Old Love Dies Hard (1976) Pompeii (1977) and A La Carte (1978)
Old Loves Die Hard album was a huge hit and reached No 1 in the Portuguese album charts.
Following the release of the single Take a Break Today, this was then followed up by one of the bands biggest hits 'The Hymn' again featuring Barry Palmer on lead vocals.
The Hymn was absolutely huge in Germany, and quickly became the band’s best ever selling single. (See YouTube)
Superb tracks featuring Barry Palmer’s lead vocals during his time with Triumvirat include tracks such as Old Loves Die Hard, A Cold Old Worried Lady (written by Barry) The Hymn and Waterfall to name just a few.
Jürgen Fritz later mimed to Barry Palmer’s vocals on the track Waterfall on the accompanying promotional video. (See YouTube)
After Triumvirat fractured in the early eighties, Barry Palmer stayed on in Germany recording and touring with other similar and notable German Progressive Rock Groups such as Satin Whale, and Gaensehaut and he can be heard on Gaensehaut’s track Mr America.
Satin Whale were also a similar German Progressive Rock band to that of Triumvirat and were founded in 1971 in the German region of Cologne. During a rock contest in 1974, they were elected as the most popular German band.
Whilst Barry was with Satin Whale, in 1980/81, the band released a single titled Don’t Stop the Show / Girl quickly followed up by their last commercial studio album together of the same name (Don't Stop the Show) The band split up in 1981.
But progressive rock wasn’t finished with Barry Palmer and rock history was yet again soon to be made.
Barry was introduced in the Swiss Alps to another progressive rock genius, namely the one and only Mike Oldfield.
In 1983, Mike Oldfield heard one of the Triumvirat albums and was very interested in the voice of their lead vocalist Barry Palmer.
Oldfield invited Barry to join his Crises album tour, however Barry refused because at that time, he was too busy working on his forthcoming solo album, Without an Aim.
The entire studio time and session musicians had previously been booked, arranged and paid for and the recording of this album was imminent and therefore it could not be cancelled.
In 1984, Barry Palmer released two further singles, She’s Leaving Home, a Beatles cover which he had recorded whilst in Germany with the assistance of Jürgen Fritz (Triumvirat) and then, When One Door Closes which was a track selected off his forthcoming album, Without an Aim.
Later that same year (1984) Mike Oldfield again contacted Barry and asked him to sing on his new song, Crime of Passion.
Crime of Passion was the first song that Barry Palmer ever recorded with Mike Oldfield.
Shortly afterwards, Barry was invited to record the following four songs for the 1984 Mike Oldfield album Discovery.
Barry Palmer sang every other song (alternating with Maggie Reilly) on Mike Oldfield’s Discovery album, redefining himself and his vocal talents on tracks such as Pictures in the Dark, Tricks of the Light, Saved by a Bell and Discovery. (See YouTube)
One track, released in 1985: Pictures in the Dark also featuring the superb voices of Anita Hegerland and Aled Jones.
Three further tracks from Barry with Mike Oldfield followed. Poison Arrows was released commercially but the other two songs were only recorded as demos and were never released.
These two demos were, When The Night's On Fire, later performed by Anita Hegerland on the album Islands, and Man In The Rain which later appeared on the album Tubular Bells III, sung by Cara Dillon.
Around about the same time, together with John Payne (Asia fame) under the duo name of Cover Up, Barry Palmer dueted with John on a song called Love The One You Live / Feel the Fire, written by Stephen Stills of Crosby Stills & Nash fame and Palmer/Payne respectively.
Barry had introduced his friend John Payne to Mike Oldfield. John originally performed the vocals for the track Magic Touch, but later Mike Oldfield decided not to use this version.
After his period with Mike Oldfield, Barry Palmer then decided to focus totally on his own solo career.
In 1985, he released his solo album titled, Without an Aim.
Also around the same time, Barry also released a cover version single of Manfred Mann’s Doo Wah Diddy Diddy together with his own song, Spirit of America on the B side.
1987 saw the further release of an EP by Barry titled Shimmering Gold / Unknown Singer which had previously been recorded in Germany with the assistance of Jürgen Fritz.
This was clearly an extremely busy period for Barry as also that year (1987) he also released his own version of House of the Rising Sun (extended & edited versions) which was then quickly followed by God Bless the Children / Somebody Sing My Song.
God Bless the Children was also selected to be sung by all the (1987) Miss World contestants that same year whilst they were appearing at The Royal Albert Hall in London. (See YouTube)
God Bless the Children / Somebody Sing My Song was also released in Norway in 1988 where it enjoyed some limited chart success.
The following year (1988) saw Barry Palmer coming to notice as a Music Producer with his own record label Pyramid Records.
His most notable success during this period was when he produced the massive UK hit, Lies / I Need Experience for Amanda Scott (real name Avis Hopkins) who just happens to be Bonnie Tyler’s younger sister.
Between 1990/1994, Barry Palmer continued performing live and was the lead singer with a Blues Rock band called Jonesville.
The mid and late nineties (1995/2000) again saw Barry performing live as lead vocalist with several London based function bands such as The Wedge and Nightshift.
The year 2000/2001 saw Barry Palmer release his next single called Dear John / Ghost of a Love
Since then, Barry has taken time out for personal reasons but has continued working on his own music, penning a huge amount of new material, some of which can now be found on his newly released 2012 studio album Night Thoughts. (barrypalmermusic.com/)
Other material is now also ready for the release of yet another new album such was Barry’s creative productivity during this period.
Recently, 2012 saw Barry Palmer release his latest single Innocent (See YouTube)
This is to be followed (September 2012) by his latest studio album titled Night Thoughts, all tracks written by Barry and his London based close friend and song writing partner, Dave Duncan.
Look out for some typically stunning, truly vintage style, quality unique Barry Palmer vocal performances on this album, especially on such tracks as Maybe It’s You, Miracle Tonight and the absolute superb track, Here It Comes Again, which Barry is planning to be his next follow up single to his recently released single Innocent.
Barry Palmer is still very busy musically and his creative ideas are flowing. He is currently working on yet more new material and as a result, a large number of tracks are well advanced for yet another new album which this time, he intends to be called The Way Ahead, as well as also planning further single releases.
Those of you who are familiar with his past career will know just what to expect from Barry Palmer; Music and lyrics with that rare quality, genuine emotion and feeling, always working to be among the best at what he does and what he does well is sing but with a voice that ranges from warm, tender and heartfelt across to powerful, soaring and poetic.
Barry Palmer has had a very lengthy musical career spanning some 40 years and he has worked or performed with a huge amount of the UK music scene's well known and talented elite and yet his appetite and creativity to write new contemporary songs shows no signs of slowing down.
For those who know little or nothing of Barry Palmer, here is a short list of some of the people who, in the past, have been more than happy to play their part in order for him to play his.
Bill Martin, Phil Coulter, Jürgen Fritz, Mike Oldfield, Maggie Reilly, Kirsty McCall, Anita Hegerland, Aled Jones. John Payne, Rod Argent, Simon Phillips, Preston Heyman, Mickey Simmonds, Nik Green, Mo Foster, Curt Cress, Charlie Morgan, Phil Spalding, Amanda Scott.
It’s easy to go on but I’m sure that you get the point. (If you don’t recognise these names, then Google them, you may be totally surprised.)
- Old Loves Die Hard (1976)
- Pompeii (1977)
- A La Carte (1978)
With Satin Whale:
- Don’t Stop the Show (1980/81)
As Barry Palmer:
- Without An Aim (1984)
With Mike Oldfield:
- Discovery (1984/85)
As Barry Palmer:
- Night Thoughts (2012)
As Barry Joe Palmer:
- Always (1973)
- Getaway (1973)
Barry Palmer as Kenny:
- The Bump (1974)
Barry Palmer as DC Palmer:
- Maybe I’m Amazed (1975)
- Take a Break Today / The Capitol Of Power (1975)
- The Hymn (1977)
- Waterfall (1978)
- Darlin’ (1978)
- Mr America (1980)
With Satin Whale:
- Don’t Stop the Show / Girl (1980/81)
As Barry Palmer:
- She’s Leaving Home (1983)
- When One Door Closes (1984)
With Mike Oldfield (1984 / 1985):
- Crime of Passion
- Pictures in the Dark
- Tricks of the Light
- Saved By A Bell
- Poison Arrows
- When the Nights on Fire (Demo)
- Man in the Rain (Demo)
Barry Palmer as Cover Up:
- Love the One You Live / Feel the Fire (1985)
As Barry Palmer:
- When One Door Closes (1985)
- Doo Wah Diddy Diddy / Spirit of America (1986)
- Shimmering Gold / Unknown Singer (1987)
- House of the Rising Sun (1987)
- God Bless The Children / Somebody Sing My Song (1987)
Barry Palmer as Producer / Record Label: (for Amanda Scott)
- Lies / I Need Experience (1988)
- Take a Break Today / The Capitol of Power (2000)
As Barry Palmer:
- Dear John / Ghost of a Love (2000 / 01)
- Innocent (2012)