I recently spent a few hours perusing the autobiography of former Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor and came upon a short paragraph on the Power Station’s second album, Living In Fear. Many recall the Power Station’s self-titled first CD released in 1985, but it seems only the hardcore fans recall the follow-up released in 1996. Even the Taylor autobiography only gives it a brief mention, and that’s a shame.
The original Power Station featured Taylor on guitar, his Duran Duran partner John Taylor on bass and Chic’s Tony Thompson on drums. Later in the recording process they recruited singer Robert Palmer. The combination produced three hits (“Some Like It Hot,” “Get It On [Bang A Gong]” and Communication”). After a little drama and a sudden lead singer change, the group toured and even appeared at Live Aid only to disband with Andy Taylor and Robert Palmer going to solo careers, John Taylor going back to Duran Duran and Tony Thompson going to Led Zeppelin.
Flash forward almost 11 years when the guys decide to recreate the magic of the original album, or perhaps because Andy Taylor’s solo career was a only a minor success — or because John Taylor was bored again with Duran Duran. As preproduction started, John Taylor dropped out of the project to face a more immediate issue of his sobriety. Instead of his absence being a negative, John Taylor’s writing and playing space was filled by former Chic bassist and producer extraordinaire Bernard Edwards, whose contributions were invaluable. Living In Fear was pumped by the additional of Edward’s bass again interwoven with is former Chic buddy’s drums. Strangely, without John Taylor, the band reached the funk and rock balance he and Andy Taylor said was missing from Duran Duran.
The single “She Can Rock It” is clear evidence that these guys mean business. Andy Taylor rips off snarling power cords and does his best Steve Jones impression on the guitar solos. Bernard Edwards thumps his way through the song with wild abandon — and Tony Thompson keeps it all nailed down. Edward’s production sprinkles in just a touch of brass and keys to make it sound similar to the original Power Station album. Not only is this the best rock song the Power Station recorded, it’s also the best rock song Andy Taylor contributed guitar to.
Unfortunately, great music doesn’t mean great sales success. The song only reached No. 63 on the U.K charts and did not chart in the United States. This would also mark the last recorded work of bassist/producer Bernard Edwards, who died soon after completion of the album while on tour in Japan of pneumonia. Tony Thompson and Robert Palmer both passed in 2003.