PP Arnold is a Legend! Since she became London’s First Lady of Soul back in the 60’s, she is still going strong!
Born Patrician Ann Cole in Los Angeles, California into a family of Gospel singers she was the second of six children born to Theora and Mary Cole who had recently migrated to Los Angeles, California from Tyler, Texas. She grew up singing gospel music with her family and siblings at the Full Gospel Baptist Church in Watts, L.A. and had never dreamed of a professional singing career. Destiny had other plans for her.
At 17 years old she found herself in an abusive teen marriage and the mother of two small children. After a powerful prayer one Sunday morning for God to show her a way out of the hell that she was living in, she received a desperate phone call from two friends Maxine Smith and Gloria Scott begging her to go with them for an audition with Ike and Tina Turner to help them out as the girl who was supposed to go with them had let them down. Refusing to take no for an answer, they hung up the phone and shortly afterwards arrived at her apartment. They convinced her to lie to her husband and ask him to look after the kids for a short time while she went shopping locally with them. Surprisingly the lie worked and her husband who was normally very strict agreed to watch the children.
Ike & Tina Turner
The morning turned into a fairy tale scenario where she found herself in Ike and Tina Turner’s living room singing ‘Dancing In The Streets’ and afterwards being made an offer to go on the road with them as one of their backing singers ‘The Ikettes’. She explained that she was only there to help her friends but was mesmerized by the beautiful Tina Turner to travel with them to a show that they were doing that evening that was about 4 hours north of L.A. and at least see the gig. That decision to go with them got her in big trouble when she arrived back home at 6am the following morning. The day had taken on a life of it’s own so she agreed to go without calling home. It turned out to be the day that changed her life completely. With the support of her parents she was able to break free from her difficult life and pursue a career as a professional singer.
She went on the road with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue and became one of their backing singers, the ‘Ikettes’ receiving her initial professional training from the incredibly beautiful, talented Tina Turner - simply The Best female Soul/Funk/Rock entertainer of our time. She toured with the Revue on the infamous Soul Chit’lin Circuit and that was only the beginning.
Solo Career – 'First Lady Of Immediate' and 'Kafunta'
Arriving in England in 1966 as an Ikette with the Ike & Tina Revue at the height of the duo’s “River Deep Mountain High” success in the UK, she was definitely in the right place at the right time. While touring with The Rolling Stones, Pat was spotted by Mick Jagger who immediately convinced Andrew Loog Oldham to sign her to his "Immediate" record label. Gered Mankowitz, who photographed the majority of all of her ‘classic’ images christened her PP Arnold.
Her first album ‘The First Lady Of Immediate’ produced by Andrew Oldham (‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ her first single for the album) has since become a Northern Soul, Mod classic. Mick Jagger produced her self-penned tracks ‘Though It Hurts Me Badly’ and Treat Me Like A Lady’). Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane of 'The Small Faces' wrote and produced the hit ‘(If You Think You’re) Groovy’ and the best known and the biggest hit track from the album is her definitive version of Cat Steven’s Classic ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ produced by Mike Hurst
Her second album ‘Kafunta’ produced by Andrew Loog Oldham is a collection of ‘classic’ covers Jagger/Richards ‘As Tears Go By’, ‘God Only Knows’, beautiful renditions of Lennon/McCartney classic’s ‘Yesterday’ and Eleanor Rigby and the wonderful Bee Gee’s classic ‘To Love Somebody’. Her version of the Chip Taylor classic ‘Angel Of The Morning and the big hit track of the album has been quoted “as being performed with such a depth of yearning that no other version on earth will ever sound so majestic”.
London's Swinging 60's
Pat has collaborated, recorded, worked and toured alongside such Luminaries as The Rolling Stones, The Small Faces, with her own band 'The Nice' led by Keith Emerson, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, Barry Gibb, Eric Clapton, Humble Pie, Nick Drake, Roger Waters, Ocean Color Scene, The Primal Scream, The Manfred’s and the list goes on and on. Her session credits read like a Who's Who list that stretches across more than Four decades of Rock & Roll and Pop history.
She toured with the Small Faces during 1967-68, made several TV appearances with them, and featured as backing vocalist on two of the group's biggest hits, "Itchy Coo Park" and "Tin Soldier". Other credits in this period include her duet with Stewart on the single "Come Home Baby" (produced by Mick Jagger on Immediate Records) with Ron Wood on guitar, Keith Richards on bass, Nicky Hopkins on electric piano and Keith Emerson on Hammond organ and The Georgie Fame Brass Section, as well as Chris Farlowe’s version of the Motown standard "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" starring Albert Lee on guitar and Carl Palmer on drums.
After the collapse of Immediate in the late 1960s, Arnold signed a production contract with the Robert Stigwood Organization and released two singles on the Polydor label, produced by Barry Gibb but the planned album with Gibb was never completed. Between 1969 and 1970, she recorded eleven songs, which were produced by Gibb himself, but only two of the ‘Bury Me Down By The River’ and ‘Give a Hand, Take A Hand’ were released at that time. It took another 50 years to finally release all recordings in her album 'The Turning Tide'. In February 1970, she sang harmony vocals on the song ‘Born’ (that she’d also recorded a solo version of) which was included on Gibb's debut solo album, ’The Kid’s No Good’
PP was one of the iconic faces of London's Swinging 60's.
The 70’s - Changing Times
Moving into the 70’s she formed a new backing band that included the members of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke plus Steve Howe who would soon join Yes and toured with Eric Clapton as the opening act on his Eric Clapton, Delaney and Bonnie tour with George Harrison and Billy Preston. After the tour went into the studio for more RSO recordings with Eric who produced a number of unreleased sessions with her using the Delaney, Bonnie and Friends band who later became Eric’s Dominoes, along with Rita Coolidge and Doris Troy.
She then moved to the Musical stage, appearing alongside P.J. Proby and Lance LeGault in the Jack Good Rock Musical, ‘Catch My Soul'
During this period she also renewed her association with Steve Marriott, singing BV’s on the Humble Pie (Rock On) album. She also contributed backing vocals for many notable UK and US recordings including the original 1970 album recording of the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar, Nick Drake "Poor Boy", and recordings by Dr. John, Graham Nash, Gary Wright, Manassas, Nektar, Jimmy Witherspoon, Nils Lofgren, Eric Burden and Freddie King, just to name a few.
In 1977 her daughter was tragically 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. They got as far as Barry producing a duet with her and younger brother Andy of the Goffin/King classic ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’. Unfortunately PP Arnold was able to release these recording only in 2017.
Getting Back On Track In The 80’s - Starlight & More
She 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 Electro Pop group Kane Gang, which reached #21 in Britain and #19 in Australia.
In 1984, she returned to the stage in the cast of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Starlight Express as Belle the Sleeping Car alongside, Ray Shell, Stephanie Lawrence and Jeffrey Daniels and a star studded Cast in the original company. She also recorded the original Cast album of the show.
In 1986 she returned to the Rock Scene, featuring prominently as a backing vocalist with Peter Gabriel on his worldwide hit, Sledge Hammer. She also toured The U.S. and Japan with Billy Ocean at this despite a tragic car accident that injured both of her legs. Sheer will power, determination and faith in God helped her through this period.
Burning It Up On The Dance Scene
This was followed by 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. "Burn It Up" was included on the Beatmasters' album Anywayyawanna album. During the late 1980s and 1990s Arnold resumed an active career as a session vocalist, and her credits in this period included The KLF "What Time Is Love?" with her featured vocal on the hook of "3 A.M Eternal" their worldwide hit, Nina Hagen, Roger Waters (Amused To Death) and Graham Parker. In 1989 she reunited with her old friend Steve Marriott to record his solo album "30 Seconds to Midnight", which proved to be their final collaboration before Marriott died in a house fire in 1991.
1990s - Beautiful Thing
In 1994, she was one of the principals in the cast of the Olivier award-winning musical Once On This Island as Erzuli, beautiful Goddess of Love. While the production was playing in Birmigham she met leading UK band Ocean Color Scene one of the new wave of latter-day mod groups who (like their mentor), Paul Weller idolised the Small Faces. In 1995 Arnold joined forces with the Primal Scream to record a blistering cover version of the Small Faces' song "Understanding", the opening track of the various artists Small Faces tribute album - 'Long Agos and Worlds Apart'.
She returned to the charts in 1997 duetting with Ocean Color Scene on their hit single ‘It’s Beautiful Thing’ and supported them on their Marchin’ Already Tour.
She also spent a brief period working with Chip Taylor who had penned ‘Wild Thing’ originally recorded by the Troggs but internationally known by Jimi Hendrix and the beautiful ‘Angel Of The Morning her second biggest Immediate Records. They recorded a duet together called, ‘Temptation’ released in Holland in 2001 on Train Wreck Records.
Moving On. The Immediate Anthology, New Duet Album and Worldwide Tours
In 2001 PP Arnold release her full discography of Immediate Record - album 'The First Cut (The Immediate Anthology)'. It includes her famous albums "The First Lady of Immediate" and "Kafunta" as well as few additional singles.
The First Cut (The Immediate Anthology) - 2001
A chance encounter at a party led to Blow Monkeys frontman Dr Robert on their 2007 album Five In The Afternoon. It’s a great – a lost classic – from the rootsy opener, ‘Nothing But Love’, to the laid-back jazzy-blues groove of the title track ‘Five In The Afternoon’, the classy soul ballad Stay Now, the pop-funk flavoured ‘I Saw Something and What Am I To Do? And the album closer – the groovy, 60’s folk-psych-gospel song Satellite
Five In The Afternoon - 2007
DR. Robert & PP Arnold
As well as touring the world with Roger Waters in recent years from 1999-2008 on three ‘In The Flesh’ and three ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ tours where she wowed audiences around the world with her amazing vocal on Perfect Sense from the concept album Amused To Death. The song is sung partially by Roger Waters but mainly by PP Arnold on both the original album and the live shows.
In 2009 she toured the UK with Geno Washington and Jimmy James on the Flying Music ’This Is Soul Tour’ and has since toured around the UK in her own right doing what she does best, taking Soul Music to the people: live and direct.
In 2012 she toured the UK with Maddy Prior, Jerry Donahue, Dave Swarbrick, Thea Gilmore and a host of other brilliant Folk artist on ‘The Lady: Homage To Sandy Denny’ tour where she paid tribute along with the others performing three soulful renditions of Sandy’s beautiful songs. ‘Old Fashioned Waltz’, I’m A Dreamer and the beautiful ‘Take Me Away’, which she has also recorded.
West End, Soundtracks & T.V.
Her West End credits include 'Catch My Soul’ a Rock Othello, Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Starlight Express', as well as the Olivier Award Winning "Once On this Island". Her Film Soundtracks include ‘The Inside Man’ ‘Electric Dreams’, ‘Super Grass’ and most recently, ‘Seven Psychopaths’. Her T.V. Credits include, 'Ready Steady Go', Top Of The Pops, Pop Quiz, Rock Family Trees, Absolutely Fabulous, Jools Holland, T.F.I. Friday and many others in England and across Europe. Her classic ‘Beat Club’ performances that every Rock and Pop act in the UK performed on can be seen in Videos along with her classic performance with ‘The Small Faces’ on their iconic hit ‘Tin Soldier’ that’s been voted the 10th best single of all time. Her soulful backing vocals, along with Steve Marriott’s fiery vocal make them a force to be reckoned with.
In 2013 PP did a project with David Mindel a British songwriter, jingle writer and composer of music for film and television. The Band of Sisters is an idea by David bringing together his favourite female vocalists of all time, legends such as PP Arnold, Mim Grey, Tessa Niles, Lynda Hayes, Stevie Lange Mandy Bell and the list goes on to include more amazing vocalist from the UK and Nashville. The debut Album for all these wonderful ladies is called, "Issues". "Issues" comprises sixteen songs, by women about women, for women, but very much intending to appeal to men also. Her track "It's A Beautiful Song" was released as a single as well.
Exciting years. Solo Tour and Sold Out Concerts
2015 was a very special, exciting year for PP Arnold! She did her first solo tour in Cape Town, S. Africa after the 1970’s success of her second album “Kafunta”. “I had no idea that the record had been such a big success there until I went there with Roger Waters in 2002. It was the first time that I performed there as a solo artist in my own right”
As well, she delighted audiences as a part of the “ Solid Silver 60’s “ 30th Anniversary tour where she performed alongside, Billy J. Kramer, Mike Pender (The Searchers) Chris Farlowe, and The Merseybeats, all backed by the New Amen Corner.
The year ended with sell out concerts at the Isle of Wight Scooter Festival and a full house performance for the 25th Anniversary celebration of ‘The Jazz Café’, Camden Town.
2016 continued to be exciting with so many highlights, performing at the Gala night of the Small Faces Musical - ‘All or Nothing’ at the Vault Theater Waterloo in which her love affair with Steve Marriott is so beautifully documented. As well as sell out concerts at The Classic Grand Glasgow and The Venue, Rhosygilwen, W. Wales, in July there were even more ‘highlights’ at The Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival and The Windsor Festival Of Jazz, Folk and Blues to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
She was a special guest once again with The Manfreds on their 2016 tour along with the amazing Zoot Money and was enthusiastically received by the fans in every performance.
50th Anniversary and an Album of Unreleased Recordings.
In 2017 PP Arnold finally released her Heritage recordings in album. 'The Turning Tide' is a collection of songs from that were recorded between ’68 and ’70. Produced by Barry Gibb and Eric Clapton, the album was aborted and remained unfinished. Unable to rest until she could procure a license to release the tracks PP was introduced to Bill Levenson by friend and manager of Barry Gibb, Dick Ashby and thankfully the master tapes were finally located. With the help of Jeff Allen and Jon Moon at Sensible Music, Steve & Sally Cradock, and Paul Weller the tracks were mixed by Charles Reese engineer at Paul’s Black Barn Studios and the album was released 47 years later to critical acclaim and popularity by the media and fans alike. Her blistering versions of Traffic’s Medicated Goo and the Stones’ You Can’t Always Get what You want are guaranteed floor-fillers and tender ballads like the gospel song Bury Me Down By the River, Give A Hand Take A Hand and the Turning Tide the title track, all written and produced by Barry Gibb make it a must have in everybody’s record recollection.
The Turning Tide - 2017
In 2017 she celebrated her 50th Anniversary in the music industry with a fall tour that coincided with her album ‘The Turning Tide’. Both the tour and the album were a big success with the album being received enthusiastically by the media and her loyal fans. Go to her News and Blog page to witness all the brilliant press and reviews from the tour and the album.
Bring it on! New Solo Album, Tour of Australia and New Zealand and so much more
2018 is looking bright as well!
Having toured in Australia as featured vocalist in Roger Waters band in 2002 and 2008, PP undertook her own first concert tour of Australia in May 2018. PP Arnold's first ever Solo Tour of Australia and New Zealand backed by Tim Rogers the front man for the rock band You Am I with Davey Lane and Rusty Hopkinson also members of the band. James Black and vocalist Talei Wolfgramm also join this line-up of Australia’s finest. The tour had a huge success! The promoters didn't wait long and booked PP Arnold second tour to Australia.
In November and December 2018 - tour "The Return of PP Arnold to Australia"! PP performed with "You Am I " once again with James Black & The Wolfgramm Sisters, as well as with Rockwiz Orchestra at some shows.
During Summer time PP Arnold also performed on various festivals In Europe.
2019 brings New Adventures!
PP Arnold's new album ‘The New Adventures Of… P.P. Arnold’ is announces to be released via earMUSIC on August 9th 2019! It is a double-album of stunning new material featuring contributions from, among others, Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Cradock, The Specials and P.P’s songwriter son, Kodzo. It will be followed with life performances.
PP Arnold is a real Soul Survivor, still going strong!
Check the pages Tours and Gigs for the full list of her upcoming performances and Store to listen previews of songs from her albums.
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