The first Joan Armatrading record I heard was 1983’s “Drop the Pilot.” It was her only single to make the US Hot 100. The follow-up single, “(I Love It When You) Call Me Names,” got some radio play in Boston, where I was attending school at the time. I picked up her album The Key, from which these two tracks were taken, at a local used record shop.
Many years later I learned about Armatrading’s song “Rosie,” about a cross-dressing guy who loves to flirtingly tease the other boys. I bought it from iTunes. It’s a fun number with a reggae rhythm.
Enjoying these three songs, I should have dived deeper into the Armatrading catalogue, but I didn’t do that until yesterday. I saw that today is her birthday, so I took that as my cue to discover other tracks from her.
Today’s playlist was compiled from tracks suggested by music writers and her fans. If anyone reading this is a Joan Armatrading fan, let us know if there are other tracks of hers you think are essential listening.
Besides the music discovery, the other thing I learned about Armatrading from my web research yesterday is that she married her girlfriend in 2011. A belated congrats to them!
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Considering this was a list based on research, it’s a pretty good representation of Joan’s best. The Weakness in Me is one of the greatest songs ever written. I’m also fond of Square the Circle from the album of that name, and Stronger Love from The Shouting Stage. Joan rocks!
Thanks for the music recommendations, Bradley! One of the best things about the modern digital age is one can easily access older lesser-known tracks, so everything old is new to someone.
I like the two tracks you suggested, particularly “Stronger Love.” Both are slower and more sparse than most of the ones in my playlist.