Palmer, Robert, 1945-1997 | Tulane University Special Collections

Name: Palmer, Robert, 1945-1997
Fuller Form: Robert Franklin Palmer Jr.

Historical Note: Robert Palmer (1945-1997) was an extraordinarily talented musician, historian, critic and producer. No musical genre escaped his scrutiny. He was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, then moved to New York-New Jersey, where he first broke through as a musician in 1968, with Insect Trust, a band that still defies categorization. From the mid-1970s forward, Palmer's incisive writings appeared in Rolling Stone, the New York Time, and other influential publications. From 1981 to 1988 he was the Times' official, designated popular music critc. In 1988 he moved back down south to Olive Branch, Mississippi, to teach at the University of Mississippi and produce blues recordins for the Fat Possum label. He spent what turned out to be his final years in the Treme community of New Orleans. His published books include A Tale of Two Cities: Memphis Rock and New Orleans Roll (1979), Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta (1981), Rock and Roll: An Unruly History (1995), and other important titles. A recent collection of his writings, 1971-1997 (Anthony DeCurtis, ed., Blues and Chaos: The Music Writing of Robert Palmer, 2009), has him weighing in on everyone from Ornette Coleman to Jerry Lee Lewis.

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