Richard Jeffrey Charles Palmer-James (born June 11, 1947, in Bournemouth, Dorset) was lyricist for the progressive rock group King Crimson in the early 1970s.
The unusual role as a non-music playing member was not without precedent: Palmer-James replaced Peter Sinfield who had also written King Crimson lyrics. Prior to joining King Crimson, he had played in various Bournemouth bands: The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group, Tedrad and Ginger Man, all of which also included John Wetton on bass and vocals. He was a founding member of Supertramp; he performed and wrote the lyrics for their self-titled debut album under the name Richard Palmer and co-wrote the lyrics of the song "Goldrush" on their 2002 album, Slow Motion.
Palmer-James wrote lyrics for three of King Crimson's most highly regarded albums, Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Starless And Bible Black, and Red. He did not participate in any of King Crimson's recordings after Robert Fripp temporarily disbanded the group in 1975, but subsequently worked with John Wetton and David Cross from the band.
Palmer-James has lived in Munich since the early 1970s. In 1978 he was visited by John Wetton and W.J. Hutcheson, who were his bandmates in Tetrad, and they recorded an album with the German drummer Curt Cress in 10 days called Jack-Knife performing songs from the early days.
In 1997 he released a CD with former bandmate John Wetton under the title Monkey Business, a compilation of unreleased material including some songs that were recorded for the first time in studio, like a King Crimson tune called "Doctor Diamond".
Today he makes his living mainly as a lyricist and keeps playing guitar in bars.
- Monkey Business 1972-1997 (1998)
- I Wish You Would (1979)