P. P. Arnold

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P. P. Arnold
P. P. Arnold, July 02 2006.jpg
P.P. Arnold at Roskilde Festival in July 2006
Background information
Birth name Patricia Ann Cole
Also known as Pat Arnold
Born (1946-10-03) October 3, 1946 (age 69)
Los Angeles
Genres Rock, pop, soul, blues rock, gospel
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1966–present
Labels Immediate Records
Associated acts Ike and Tina Turner, The Nice, Small Faces, Rod Stewart, Freddie King, Catch My Soul, Roger Waters, The Who, Eric Clapton, Starlight Express, David Bowie, The Kinks, Ocean Colour Scene
Website pparnold.com

Patricia Ann Cole, known professionally as P. P. Arnold (born October 3, 1946[1]), is an American soul singer who enjoyed considerable success in the United Kingdom from the 1960s onwards.

Early life[edit]

Arnold was born into a family of gospel singers, Arnold performed as a vocal soloist for the first time when she was four years old. Her family lived in the African-American Watts ghetto of Los Angeles.[2]

Arnold married early and had two children, Kevin and Debbie. She worked two jobs, one in an office and the other in food manufacturing, until 1964, when Maxine Smith, an ex-girlfriend of her brother, contacted her with an offer. Maxine and her friend Gloria Scott had managed to arrange an audition for three girls to replace the original Ikettes, the dancer/singer troupe that provided vocal and dance accompaniment for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Smith contacted Arnold, whom she knew to be a singer. At the audition the three young women were offered the job on the spot, but Smith convinced Arnold to attend a concert in Fresno that night before making a final decision. When she arrived home at 6:00 the next morning, Arnold's furious husband struck her. Arnold left him immediately, and after placing her children in the care of her parents, joined the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.[2][3]


Arnold quit the Turner band in 1966 to remain in London and establish a solo career with Mick Jagger's encouragement. She noted the difference between how she had been treated in America and how she was received in England, saying, "A young black woman on her own in America in a white environment would not have been treated as well as I was in England."[2] She enjoyed several major British hits on Immediate, including songs written for her by Paul Korda, who wrote "The Time Has Come." She recorded songs written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane from labelmates Small Faces, who also backed her on several recordings. Arnold was in a brief romantic liaison with Marriott in 1967.[4]

P. P. Arnold (1967)

Her first backing band, the Blue Jays, had been inherited from American soul singer Ronnie Jones and included former Bluesbreakers guitarist Roger Dean. This was followed by the Nice, led by Keith Emerson on organ who had just quit from the VIPs — later to be known as Spooky Tooth — on organ and piano, David O'List on guitar, Lee Jackson on bass and Ian Hague on drums. During this period she scored several hits including a cover of the Cat Stevens song "The First Cut Is the Deepest"[3] and "Angel of the Morning", plus the Marriott-Lane song "(If You Think You're) Groovy".[5]

After the collapse of Immediate in the late 1960s, Arnold signed a production contract with the Robert Stigwood Organisation and released two singles on the Polydor label, produced by Barry Gibb, but a planned album with Gibb was never completed.[1] Between 1969 and 1970, she recorded eleven songs which were produced by Gibb himself but only two of the songs "Bury Me Down By the River" and "Give a Hand, Take a Hand" were released. In February 1970, she sang harmony vocals on the song "Born" which was included on Gibb's debut solo album The Kid's No Good.[6]

In 1970 she moved to the musical stage, appearing alongside P.J. Proby in the rock musical Catch My Soul. She then formed a new backing band that included the future members of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, plus Steve Howe, who would soon join Yes. During this period she contributed session musician backing vocals to many notable UK sessions (including the Nick Drake song "Poor Boy") and she toured with Eric Clapton, who also produced a number of unreleased sessions with her. During these sessions she met the American bassist Fuzzy Samuels of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and they subsequently became involved romantically and had a son, Kodzo.[2] In 1974 she sang on the Freddie King album Burglar[7] and feeling out of place in the rapidly changing British music scene of the mid-1970s, Arnold and Samuels returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. While living there, Arnold's relationship with Samuels ended and just two weeks after the split, her daughter Debbie was killed in a car accident. After her daughter's death, Arnold withdrew from public life for some time, not re-emerging until 1978. At this time she was reunited with Barry Gibb, who wanted to complete the never-finished solo album for her. In 1981 she moved to Hollywood but returned to England the following year to raise her younger son there. She began working with leading British reggae band Steel Pulse and returned to the charts in both the UK and Australia on the hit 1983 cover version of the Staple Singers "Respect Yourself", recorded with British electropop group Kane Gang, which reached #21 in Britain and #19 in Australia.

In 1984, she returned to the stage in the cast of the musical Starlight Express as Belle the Sleeping Car, after which she worked with a number of noted British acts including Boy George as well as working on several film soundtracks.[citation needed] Weeks before beginning a tour with Billy Ocean, her legs were badly injured in a car accident. She went ahead with the Ocean tour, at first appearing on crutches, but her injuries eventually forced her to leave the tour after ten weeks. Without a record contract and unable to play live, Arnold survived by doing sessions for advertising jingles. This eventually led to a successful collaboration with the Beatmasters on the retro-styled Acid House hit "Burn It Up", which reached #14 in Britain in October 1988, and became her third hit to spend 10 weeks or more on the UK Singles Chart.[5]

In 1994, she joined the cast of the award-winning musical Once on This Island as Erzulie, beautiful Goddess of Love. While the production was playing in Birmingham she met leading UK band Ocean Colour Scene, one of the new wave of latter-day mod groups who (like their mentor Paul Weller), idolised the Small Faces.[1]

Arnold joined forces with Chaz Jankel, former pianist with Ian Dury and the Blockheads. This was followed by an invitation to tour widely with Roger Waters. She was a backup vocalist on his 1999–2000 tour In the Flesh (also on the CD and DVD of the same name), as well as the 2006–2008 tour, Dark Side of the Moon Live. Her version of "The First Cut is the Deepest" was featured in the soundtrack of the 2012 movie Seven Psychopaths.[8]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "P.P. Arnold". NNDB.com. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  2. ^ a b c d Simone, Michael. "An Interview With PP Arnold". RogerWaters.org. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "P. P. Arnold". MakingTime.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  4. ^ Patress, Mark (March 2012). Phil, Alexander, ed. "Heart and Soul — Steve Marriott". Mojo (222): 71. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 30. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1970". Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Burglar at Allmusic
  8. ^ IMDb Soundtrack

External links[edit]