Surveying Robert Palmer‘s discography, it’s obvious that the late singer didn’t shy away from tackling others’ tunes. In fact, some of his biggest hits were covers, including Moon Martin’s “Bad Case Of Loving You” and Cherrelle’s “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On.” Palmer’s long-players reliably included a cover tune or two, whether Gary Numan, The Gap Band, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, or even Devo.
You might say Robert Palmer was addicted to covers.
So it’s only fair that some artists have considered Palmer’s own originals up for revision. His signature song, “Addicted To Love,” is an obvious pick, with Tina Turner, Ciccone Youth (Sonic Youth with Mike Watt), and most recently, Florence + The Machine, issuing three standout takes of his 1986 #1 hit.
Reaching even further back into Palmer’s catalog, now Los Angeles duo Kisses have covered “Johnny And Mary,” from 1980’s Clues. They’re not the first to do so, with Status Quo, Tina Turner (again), Melissa Manchester, Placebo, and Nouvelle Vague all going on record with this tale of a couple that’s “fallen into life like a habit, there’s no struggle or romance in what they do,” as Palmer described in the liner notes to 1989’s Addictions Volume 1.
Palmer continues, saying, “This is also the first song of mine which was covered properly. Marie Leonor, a French singer, got it absolutely right.” You can hear Leonor’s version here, and Kisses’ cover, produced by :Kinema:, below. It begins slowly with just Jesse Kivel’s voice and a piano, briefly dabbling in early ’60s balladry before taking off for ’80s shimmering-synths land. If Palmer was around to hear Kisses’ sublime cover, I think he’d conclude the duo had done his tale-of-two proud.