Women Music March 2023 – Day 23 Joan Armatrading

https://www.shropshirestar.com/resizer/yBb6ERZ_C4PQqqbhxAONU2OMLRo=/1000x0/filters:quality(100)/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-shropshirestar-mna.s3.amazonaws.com/public/SDITZYXBCBFGBM5D2JIELNJ6XYJoan Armatrading


Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, CBE (b. 12/9/50) is a Kittitian-English singer-songwriter and guitarist. A three-time Grammy Award nominee, Armatrading has also been nominated twice for BRIT Awards as Best Female Artist. She received an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contemporary Song Collection in 1996. Her recording career spans nearly 50 years.

Early Life:
Joan Armatrading, the third of six children, was born in the town of Basseterre in what was then the British colony Saint Christopher and Nevis. Her father was a carpenter and her mother a housewife. When she was three years old, her parents moved with their two eldest boys to Birmingham in England, sending Joan to live with her grandmother on the Caribbean island of Antigua. In early 1958, at the age of seven, she joined her parents in Brookfields, then a district of Birmingham.  Her father had played in a band in his youth, later forbidding his children from touching his guitar. Armatrading left school at the age of 15 to help support her family.

Musical Beginnings:
At about the age of 14 Armatrading began writing songs by setting her own limericks to music on a piano that her mother had purchased as “a piece of furniture.” Armatrading then began teaching herself guitar after her mother had bought her one that was worth £3 (equivalent to £62 in 2021) from a pawn shop in exchange for two prams.

Joan lost her first job (as a typist and comptometer operator) after taking her guitar to work and playing it during tea-breaks.

Armatrading first performed in a concert at Birmingham University for her brother at the age of about 16. She only knew her own songs, but her brother asked her to perform something that would be familiar to the audience; she chose “The Sound of Silence.” She then performed her own songs around the local area with a friend from school, and played bass- and rhythm-guitar at local clubs. In 1968 Armatrading joined a touring production of the stage musical Hair. There she met the lyricist Pam Nestor in 1970, and they worked together on Armatrading’s debut album Whatever’s for Us, released by Cube Records in 1972.


Studio albums


Live albums


Compilation albums






Box sets


Other appearances: 3

One thing to share:
Joan’s guitars!

Armatrading performs on both six- and twelve-string acoustic and electric guitars. She has played on Ovation acoustic instruments since 1973, and said this about them in an interview with the magazine Guitar Player: “I’m a bit of a hitter, you see – I bash – and I like to have everything going at once: bass, harmony, and melody. This is why I love Ovations. They are very powerful-sounding guitars, and when I hit those strings, they ring with a nice, clear, percussive – but not overly bright – sound that highlights the rhythms I like to play.” She has played Fender Stratocaster and Gibson electric guitars. For her 2012–13 tour, she performed on six- and 12-string Ovations, Stratocasters, and customised Tom Anderson guitars, while for her 2014–2015 Me Myself I Tour, she performed on Ovation and Variax instruments.

Official website: here



15 Comments Add yours

  1. randydafoe says:

    Very nice to learn a bit more about Joan. I had a friend in college who was a big fan so I had heard some of her earlier work. She is I feel, another under appreciated talent.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Happy to share the info and I agree about being underappreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dale says:

    She’s one of those signers that I know more by name than anything else. I bet you, besides these songs, I would be surprised to know more 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I hear you, Dale.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. While I’ve been aware of her name for many years, sadly, I don’t know Joan Armatrading’s music. Your post is a nice intro to what sounds like an impressive artist. I also like her voice.

    It’s great to see that after a 50-year recording career, which in and of itself is an incredible accomplishment, Armatrading is still out there and evidently still making albums. Her most recent release, “Live at Asylum Chapel”, came out in November 2022, while her latest studio album, “Consequences”, appeared in June 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you liked the post, Christian and thank you for the additional information on her. Happy to hear she’s still going strong.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks again for reminding me of an artist whose name I had known for many years but never had listened to any of her songs. I’m hoping to finally take a closer look at her music while also continuing my quest to keep up with new music. I know it’s basically mission impossible and a nice problem to have!😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. memadtwo says:

    I used to play her album “Walk Under Ladders” over and over. That’s probably her music I know best. I also like that you included the tidbits about her guitars. Musicians have very intimate relationships with their instruments. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Happy you know her album well and I think you’re so right about musicians and their instruments. The first one I think of is Willie Nelson and Trigger.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aphoristical says:

    I like her but feel like I should give her a whole lot more attention sometime. Prob

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I hope you do, Graham 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I liked what I’ve heard from her but admittingly that is not much. There are some cool clips of her on The Old Grey Whistle Test I like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      The Old Grey Whistle Test is a real treasure trove isn’t it. I need to learn more of Joan’s music.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        I love the interviews they do of John Lennon and Keith Moon on there…they are great.

        Liked by 1 person

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