born on 9/9/1946 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada
died on 1/10/2004 in Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Links www.allmusic.com (English)
Palmer was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. He started out playing in a high school band, which evolved into the successful Robbie Lane & The Disciples, and then graduated to a local, otherwise all-black, group fronted by Billy Clarkson. Next came British invasion-inspired Jack London & The Sparrows (which after Palmer left, evolved into Steppenwolf). In early 1965, he left to join The Mynah Birds and met Neil Young. The group, fronted by future funk legend Rick James, was signed to Motown Records and did some preliminary recordings before it was discovered that James had been AWOL from the Navy for a year. A planned single, "It's My Time" b/w "Go Ahead And Cry", was withdrawn just prior to its scheduled release by Motown. Both sides of this single were included in the 2006 box set "The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6: 1966", released in a limited edition of 6000 by Universal label Hip-O-Select, marking the first time any of the 1966 Motown recordings by the Mynah Birds had seen the light of day.
The group was forced to disband, and Young and Palmer drove the former's hearse to Los Angeles in the hope of meeting up with Stephen Stills, a journeyman folk musician with whom Young had played briefly in Canada two years earlier.
Finds fame with Buffalo Springfield
Young and Palmer ran into Stills while stuck in traffic in Los Angeles, Stills having recognized Young's distinctive hearse. It was not long before the trio, along with Richie Furay on rhythm guitar and Dewey Martin on drums, formed Buffalo Springfield. The band only had one major national hit, "For What It's Worth" (written and sung by Stills), but locally their popularity was rivaled only by The Byrds and The Doors.
Palmer was arrested on numerous occasions for drug possession. These legal problems, compounded by his predilection to sit at home reading mystical texts, led to him being shunned by most of the group. Another arrest led to his deportation from the United States in early 1967; Palmer was replaced in the band by a rotating group of bassists that included Jim Fielder and Ken Koblun. Shortly thereafter, Young left the group due to tensions with Stills, and Buffalo Springfield played its most prominent concert at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 with Doug Hastings and David Crosby filling in for Young. During his time back in Toronto between JanuaryMay 1967, Palmer had gigged briefly with the Heavenly Government.
In late May, Palmer returned to the United States disguised as a businessman, and rejoined the band (Young eventually returned as well). However, the group continued to rely on session bassists. Meanwhile, Palmer continued to rack up a lengthy arrest record, which included yet another drug possession bust and speeding without a license. In January 1968, Palmer was removed from the band and officially replaced by Jim Messina. Then, after embarking on a tour opening for the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield disbanded on May 5, 1968 after a final hometown concert at the Long Beach Sports Arena.
Palmer resurfaced in the summer of 1969 for two weeks as the bassist for Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young but was soon replaced by Motown prodigy Greg Reeves. Back in Toronto, he gigged briefly with Luke & The Apostles in early 1970.
In 1971, Palmer released his lone solo record, The Cycle Is Complete, on Verve Records. Primarily consisting of three long jams, "Alpha-Omega-Apocalypse", "Oxo", and "Calm Before The Storm" (with an "Interlude" between the first two numbers), the album featured Palmer playing with the remnants of fellow L.A. psychedelic group Kaleidoscope, Toronto keyboard player Ed Roth and Rick James contributing jazzy scat vocals. The record has been described as a jazzier version of Skip Spence's Oar or Syd Barrett's two solo recordsan aural, drug-induced nervous breakdown. The album was a commercial disaster, and Palmer seemingly retired from music.
In 1977, Palmer joined former Kensington Market singer/guitarist Keith McKie and lead guitarist Stan Endersby (formerly of local bands, The Just Us, and Mapleoak) in the Toronto group, Village for some local gigs.
In 1982-1983, Palmer resurfaced as the bassist in Neil Young's Trans Band, playing a mixture of Young classics and electronica-infused material to audiences throughout America and Europe.
Palmer was inducted with his bandmates into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. He died of a heart attack on October 1, 2004 in Belleville, Ontario, Canada.
- 1.0 1.1 Martin, Douglas (October 16, 2004). Bruce Palmer Dies at 58; Buffalo Springfield Bassist. The New York Times. Retrieved on June 8, 2010.
- Palmer bio at Allmusic
- Tribute video
- Bio page at thrasherswheat.org
- Bio page at Westcoast Rendez-Vous
- Rock Hall about Springfield
- Classic Bands/Springfield
- last.fm photo gallery
|Richie Furay | Dewey Martin | Jim Messina | Stephen Stills | Neil Young | Bruce Palmer|
|Buffalo Springfield | Buffalo Springfield Again | Last Time Around|
|Compilations and box sets|
|Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield | Buffalo Springfield (collection) | Buffalo Springfield (box set)|
|"For What It's Worth" | "Mr. Soul" | "Broken Arrow"|
|The Au Go Go Singers | The Mynah Birds | Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young | The Stills-Young Band | Poco | Manassas | Crazy Horse | Loggins and Messina|