Harman Patil (Editor)

Sweet Lies (song)

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B-side  "Want You More"
Format  7", 12", CD single
Label  Island Records
Released  1988
Length  3:09
Writer(s)  Robert Palmer, Frank Blair, Dony Wynn

"Sweet Lies" is a song by English singer Robert Palmer, released as a single in 1988, and taken from the 1988 film Sweet Lies. The song would appear on the film's soundtrack, and later on Palmer's 1989 compilation album Addictions: Volume 1. The song was written by Palmer, Frank Blair and Dony Wynn, whilst being produced solely by Palmer.



Palmer's first single release since 1986, "Sweet Lies" was released from the forthcoming Island motion picture soundtrack of the Sweet Lies film. The single peaked at #94 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and lasted in the Top 100 for a total of two weeks. In the UK, the song fared better, peaking at #58 and lasting in the Top 100 for three weeks.

In the 2005 book Alien Rock: The Rock 'n' Roll Extraterrestrial Connection by Michael Luckman, Palmer had called "Sweet Lies" "a lovely record," and confessed it wrote itself, much like his 1988 hit single "She Makes My Day". He was quoted "It came out of the blue. I was merely channeling it, these chord changes - I have no idea where that came from. I didn't give much thought to it at all. It was like automatic writing. It's nice to be in the right place at the right time, catch it unaware, and then people go, 'What's that?' and I go, 'I dunno, good isn't it?'"


The single was released via Island Records in America, the UK, and Europe, including Germany and Italy. All editions of the 7" vinyl release featured the B-side "Want You More" which was written and produced by Palmer. The B-side was taken from Palmer's 1983 album Pride.

The 12" vinyl release featured an extended remix of "Sweet Lies", created by Freddy Bastone. The 12" vinyl was mainly released in the UK and Germany, where "Want You More" was again included, as well as the additional track "Riptide" - the title track from Palmer's 1985 album Riptide, which was written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn. In Mexico, the same track-listing was used for the 12" vinyl release there, which had the track-listing in both English and Spanish on the labels. A second UK limited edition 12" vinyl was issued with the same track listing but with a fourth track - the single version of Palmer's self-penned 1986 hit song "Addicted to Love".

A promotional 12" vinyl was issued in the UK, which featured the extended version of "Sweet Lies", along with an exclusive "Dub Version" of the track, which was again created and remixed by Bastone, as well as Palmer's 1978 hit single "Every Kinda People", which was written by Andy Fraser. In America, a white label promotional 12" vinyl was issued featuring the 7" version of "Sweet Lies" on both sides. In Japan, the single was issued on 12" vinyl as a promo sample 3-track release, housed in a colour promo stickered picture sleeve with an integral obi-strip and lyric insert.

In the UK, a 3" mini CD version of the single was issued, featuring the same three tracks as the main 12" vinyl release. In America, a one track promotional single was issued on CD, featuring the 7" version of the track. In Japan, a 3" CD featuring "Sweet Lies" and "Want You More" was issued with a snap pack picture sleeve including lyrics. Additionally, another Japanese 3" CD version was issued, housed as a snap-pack CD with a tanzaku picture sleeve and featured the same track-listing as the second UK 12" vinyl release (with the tracks "Want You More, "Riptide" and "Addicted to Love".

In 1989, Palmer's 1978 hit single "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" would be re-issued by Island Records in the UK, Australia and New Zealand as a single from Addictions: Volume 1. The single peaked at #80 in the UK, and the B-side used was "Sweet Lies".

The majority of releases featured a full colour sleeve, which highlighted a close-up photograph of Palmer's face, with a pink background. For the UK limited edition four-track 12" vinyl release, as well as the four-track Japanese 3" CD release, a close-up photograph of Palmer taken from the song's music video would be used on the artwork.


A music video was created to promote the single.

In the UK NME magazine issue of 12 March 1988, a full A4 black and white advert was displayed based on the single. It used the UK limited edition 12" vinyl photograph of Palmer. In America, a promotional poster was issued, using the full colour photograph of the single's main sleeve design.

Track listing

7" Single
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 3:09
  2. "Want You More" - 3:18
12" Single (UK/German release)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 5:33
  2. "Want You More" - 3:18
  3. "Riptide" - 2:26
12" Single (UK release #2)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 5:33
  2. "Want You More" - 3:18
  3. "Riptide" - 2:26
  4. "Addicted to Love" - 3:55
12" Single (Mexican release)
  1. "Mentiras Dulces (Sweet Lies)" - 5:33
  2. "Te Quiro Mas (Want You More)" - 3:18
  3. "Rompe-Olas (Riptide)" - 2:26
12" Single (Japanese promo release)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 5:33
  2. "Want You More" - 3:18
  3. "Riptide" - 2:26
12" Single (Sweet Lies (Remixes) - UK promo)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 5:33
  2. "Sweet Lies (Dub Version)" - 3:00
  3. "Every Kinda People" - 3:19
12" Single (American white label promo)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 3:05
  2. "Sweet Lies" - 3:05
CD Single (UK release)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 5:33
  2. "Want You More" - 3:18
  3. "Riptide" - 2:26
CD Single (American promo)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 3:07
CD Single (Japanese release)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 3:09
  2. "Want You More" - 3:18
CD Single (Japanese release #2)
  1. "Sweet Lies" - 5:33
  2. "Want You More" - 3:18
  3. "Riptide" - 2:26
  4. "Addicted to Love" - 3:55

Critical reception

In the Evening Times of December 17, 1988, an article based on the music of 1988 under the headline "Year of the cover-ups" mentioned the song under the 'Rock' section, written by Roddy Thomson, who stated "Robert Palmer with his "Sweet Lies" single nearly made our hit list but this year the King of Smooths title fell rather to one Will Downing who, aside from doing the honours on Wally Jump Juniors Tighten Up - I Just Can't Stop Dancing, managed to release the best soul record of 1988."


  • Lead Vocals, Guitar – Robert Palmer
  • Bass – Frank Blair
  • Drums – Dony Wynn
  • Keyboards, Trombone – Richard Gibbs
  • Producer, Arranger - Robert Palmer for Remlap Music Corp.
  • Mixing – Tim Kramer
  • Extended Remix of "Sweet Lies" - Freddy Bastone
  • Writers of "Sweet Lies" – Robert Palmer, Frank Blair, Dony Wynn
  • Writer of "Want You More" – Robert Palmer
  • Writers of "Riptide" – Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn
  • Writer of "Addicted to Love" – Robert Palmer
  • Writer of "Every Kinda People" - Andy Fraser
  • References

    Sweet Lies (song) Wikipedia

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