9 December 1950, Basseterre, Saint Kitts, West Indies. Armatrading was the first black female singer-songwriter based in Britain to compete on equal terms with white singers. While Madeleine Bell and P.P. Arnold predated Armatradings success, the latter has remained remarkably consistent for over 30 years.
The Armatrading family moved to Birmingham, England, in 1958, and Joan taught herself to play piano and guitar, before meeting Pam Nestor, also a West Indian immigrant. Both were working in a touring cast of the celebrated hippie musical, Hair. Armatrading and Nestor wrote songs together, but Armatrading was given the major role on Whatevers For Us, her 1972 debut album produced by Gus Dudgeon. Released in the UK on Cube Records, the album was a greater critical than commercial success, and was licensed for North America by A&M Records. Armatrading and Nestor dissolved their partnership after the album; Nestor made an...
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