Palmer's involvement in the music industry began in the 1960s, covered four decades and included a spell with the band Vinegar Joe. He found success both in his solo career and with the Power Station, and had Top 10 songs in both the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Three of his hit singles, “I Didn't Mean to Turn You On,” "Addicted to Love," and “Simply Irresistible”, were accompanied with stylish music videos directed by British fashion photographer Terence Donovan. Palmer received a number of awards throughout his career, including two Grammy Awards for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, an MTV Video Music Award, and two Brit Award nominations for Best British Male Solo Artist.
Palmer died aged 54 following a heart attack on 26 September 2003.