Richard Palmer-James

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For the medieval Sicilian bishop, see Richard Palmer, Archbishop of Messina.

Richard William Palmer-James (born 11 June 1947, in Bournemouth, England) is an English musician, best known for having written lyrics for several songs by the progressive rock group King Crimson in the early 1970s.[1]

Palmer-James got his start in the music business playing in various Bournemouth bands: The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group (formed with Alec James), Tetrad, and Ginger Man, all of which included John Wetton on bass and vocals. Palmer-James was a founding member of Supertramp, playing guitar and singing vocals, as well as writing the lyrics for their self-titled debut album[2] under the name Richard Palmer. He also co-wrote the lyrics of "Goldrush", a song written during his days in the band but not recorded until their 2002 album Slow Motion.

Palmer wrote lyrics for three of King Crimson's albums: Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and Red. He did not participate in any of King Crimson's recordings, but worked with John Wetton and David Cross after Robert Fripp disbanded the group in 1974.

Palmer has lived in Munich since the early 1970s. In 1978 he was visited by John Wetton and W.J. Hutcheson, his bandmates in Tetrad. Over 10 days, with the German drummer Curt Cress, they recorded, as "Jack-Knife", an album of songs from the early days called I Wish You Would.[3] Palmer also wrote the English lyrics for the Italo Disco inventors La Bionda.

In 1997 he released a CD with former bandmate John Wetton entitled Monkey Business,[4] a compilation of unreleased material including some songs that were recorded for the first time in studio, including a King Crimson tune called "Doctor Diamond".

Today he makes his living mainly as a lyricist, and plays guitar in bars.


  • 1970 : Supertramp
  • 2002 : Slow-Motion : One of his compositions, Goldrush is featured here.
  • 1973 : Get Out To The Country
King Crimson 
  • 1973 : Larks' tongues in aspic
  • 1974 : Starless & Bible black
  • 1974 : Red
  • 1979 : Sideshow/Wednesday - Single - The song Sideshow was written by Palmer-James & Hermann Weindorf.
Jack Knife 
  • 1979 : I wish you would - With John Wetton.
John Wetton 
  • 1998 : Arkangel - With Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett, etc.
  • 2011 : Raised in captivity - The song The Devil and the Opera House was co-written by Palmer-James, John Wetton & Billy Sherwood.
John Wetton & Richard Palmer-James 
  • 1998 : Monkey Business 1972 - 1997
  • 2014 : Jack-Knife / Monkey Business 1972 - 1997
Richard Palmer-James 
  • 2016 : Takeaway


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