Kim Cunningham
December 07, 1992 12:00 PM

NAME THAT TUNESTER

When “Addicted to Love” became the country’s No. 1 hit in 1986, says Robert Palmer, “It fell like I had written the national anthem. It let me know that what I was doing got through without having to dress up crazy or make wild statements about God and the trees.” The eclectic Palmer’s new album, Ridin’ High, is a collection of ballads that seems as out-of-sync with his rock past as do his Armani suits. “It’s kind of risky,” concedes the singer, 43, “but it’s not like jumping off a cliff. I guess people who know me from ‘Simply Irresistible’ are going to be, like, ‘What the hell?’ But I might be lucky that they hear it and like it and don’t know it’s me.”

CHICKEN-FRIED CAPULET

Dolly Parton’s Eagle When She Flies just went platinum, but she’s already back in the studio recording duets with Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Trisha Yearwood for her next album, Slow Dancing with the Moon. Parton, 46, is also joined on the song “Romeo” by C&W stallion Billy Ray Cyrus, 31. “It’s a little dance number I wrote about a good-lookin’ cowboy and how all the girls go crazy over him,” she says. “Billy Ray said he’d do the song if I’d play Juliet. I said OK because I figured that by now I was old enough to be his lover.”

CATCH OF RISING STARS

“A lot of people think, ‘Why should I go to a comedy club when I can sit in my living room, flip through the cable channels and hit a comedian any time of day?’ ” says Carol Leifer, 36, who’d rather do her stand-up act live. “If I see one more comic on cable in front of a brick wall…People graduate college and think, ‘Well, I’ll either get an M.B.A. or become a comedian.’ It’s a job possibility because it’s accessible. There’s a Chuckle Hut at the mall right next to The Gap.” Ironically, Leifer’s got a Showtime special, Gaudy, Bawdy and Blue, airing Dec. 5; happily, she forwent the brick wall.

TRADING FACES

Eddie Murphy fans are awaiting the Dec. 4 opening of his new comedy, The Distinguished Gentleman. But his 3-year-old daughter, Bria, prefers Dad’s golden oldies (sort of). “She is really into—get this—Michael Jackson,” says Murphy, 31, who plans to marry Nicole Mitchell, the mother of Bria and new baby Miles, on March 18. “You know that Michael Jackson video [Remember the Time] we did? I’m sitting there watching it with Bria,” Murphy says, shaking his head and lapsing into baby talk, “and she goes, Fass fowad to Michael! Fass fowad to Michael!’ ”

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