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artist information

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading (born Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, 9 December 1950, in Basseterre, Saint Kitts) (Caribbean) is an English singer, songwriter, and guitarist.


Joan Armatrading moved with her family to Birmingham, England in 1958. Her first job was working at Rabone Chesterman (makers of fine engineering tools), in Hockley, Birmingham. She was sacked from this job because she insisted in bringing her guitar to work, and playing during tea breaks. In the early 1970s, she moved to London to perform in a repertory production of Hair. There she met Pam Nestor, with whom she began writing songs. They worked together on the album Whatever's for Us, released on the Cube label in 1972. Cube, however, considered Armatrading to be the more likely star material and the album was credited to her alone. These events produced a tension which broke up this musical partnership. A period of inactivity for Armatrading followed, while she extracted herself from her contract with Cube Records.

It was only in 1975 that she was free to sign for A&M, and issued Back to the Night, which was promoted on tour with a six-piece jazz-pop group called The Movies. Joan credited up and coming UK singer Elkie Brooks on the sleeve notes as she had cooked for Joan and the band in the studio while making the album, which was produced by Elkie's then husband Pete Gage. A major publicity relaunch in 1976 and the involvement of producer Glyn Johns propelled her next album, Joan Armatrading, into one of the top best sellers of the year, and spawned the hit single Love and Affection. The album mixed acoustic work with jazz-influenced material, and this style was retained for the 1977 follow-up Show Some Emotion, which was also produced by Glyn Johns as was 1978's To the Limit. These albums included songs which continue to be staples of Armatrading's live shows, including "Willow", "Down to Zero" and "Kissin' and a Huggin". A live album titled Steppin' Out in 1979 showcased her well-honed stage act.

She gained a new audience following her writing and performing "The Flight of the Wild Geese", which was used during the opening and end titles for the 1976 war film The Wild Geese.

In 1980 Armatrading radically revised her playing style and released Me, Myself, I, a harder pop-oriented album produced by Richard Gottehrer, who had also worked on albums by Blondie and Robert Johnson. The same pop style was also evident on the 1981 album Walk under Ladders and 1983's The Key which produced a hit in the single "Drop the Pilot".

She made a "vocal cameo" appearance on the 1986 Queen album A Kind of Magic during the song "Don't Lose Your Head".

She has mixed eclectic musical styles over decades of recording and performing. She has scored several UK hit singles, the biggest of which were "Love & Affection", "Me Myself I" and "Drop the Pilot". Generally, her music is mostly pop with forays into rock, folk, jazz, and even reggae. Her popularity is primarily as an album artist and as a singer-songwriter.

Armatrading's latest album, Into the Blues, is scheduled for release in the United States on May 1, 2007. A video for the first single, "A Woman in Love," is circulating on YouTube and similar sites. The album, which Armatrading calls "the CD I’ve been promising myself to write for a long time," has a strong blues-rock feel.



1972Whatever's for Us--
1975Back to the Night--
1976Joan Armatrading1267
1977Show Some Emotion652
1978To the Limit13125
1979Stepping out--
1980Me Myself I528
1981Walk under Ladders688
1983The Key1032
1985Secret Secrets1473
1986Sleight of Hand3470
1988The Shouting Stage28100
1990Hearts and Flowers29161
1992Square the Circle34-
1995What's Inside--
2003Lovers Speak--
2004Live: All the Way from America--
2007Into The Blues--


1983Track Record18113
1991The Very Best Of Joan Armatrading9-
1999Love And Affection: Best Of Joan Armatrading (2 CD)--
2003Love And Affection: Classics 1975-198324-


YearTitleUK Singles ChartsUS Billboard Hot 100US Mainstream Rock
1973"Lonely Lady"---
1976"Love And Affection"10--
1980"Me Myself I"21--
1980"All The Way From America"54--
1981"I'm Lucky"46--
1981"No Love"50--
1983"Drop the Pilot"117833
1986"Kind Words (And A Real Good Heart)"81-37
1988"The Shouting Stage"89--
1988"Living For You"98--
1990"More Than One Kind Of Love"75--
1991"Love And Affection" (reissue)91--
1993"Wrapped Around Her"56--


  • Logan, Nick (1976 & 1977), The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock, Salamander Books, ISBN 0861010094
  • Clifford, Mike (1992), New Illustrated Rock Handbook, Salamander Books, ISBN 0861017218