The Amazing Career Of P.P Arnold 

She is best known for her 1967 hit “First Cut Is The Deepest” but she’s far from being one hit wonder

The Amazing Career Of P.P Arnold

P.P Arnold it’s a name mostly remembered because of her 1967 smash hit “First Cut Is The Deepest” written by Cat Stevens, but what some people may not know it’s the amazing career she has had over the years and the important contributions for Rock, Pop and even House music. Patricia Ann Cole was born on October 3, 1946 in Los Angeles, California, her professional debut in music happened in 1965 when she became part of the Ike & Tina dance and singer group Ikettes. While on tour in England in 1966 she quit the Ike & Tina group to pursue a solo career in England, encouraged by Mick Jagger. One of the motives according P.P Arnold was 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.” In 1967 she had her first hit “First Cut Is The Deepest”, however, she became a very active singer within the 1960’s British Rock scene. 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, “Itchycoo Park” and “Tin Soldier”. Other credits in this period include her duet with Rod 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. 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 renewed her association with Small Faces’ Steve Marriott, recording and touring with his new band Humble Pie, as well as contributing session musician backing vocals for many notable UK and US recordings including the original 1970 album of the rock musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Nick Drake’s “Poor Boy”, and recordings by Dr John, Graham Nash, Gary Wright, Nils Lofgren and Eric Burdon among others. She also toured with Eric Clapton, who  produced a number of unreleased sessions with her. Due to her daughter’s death in a car crash, P.P retired from music, she returned in 1984 to stage musicals and collaborating with some of the biggest Pop stars at the time, such as Boy George, Billy Ocean, Nina Hagen and Philip Oakey (Human League), she also did back vocals for Peter Gabriel’s smash hit “Sledgehammer” in 1987. On the turning to the 1990’s P.P collaborated on some of the biggest Dance and House music hits, with The Beatmasters on the retro-styled Acid House hit “Burn It Up”, and with The KLF on “What Time Is Love?” and “3 A.M Eternal”. In 1995 Arnold joined Primal Scream to record a blistering cover version of the Small Faces’ song “Understanding”, and she collaborated again with Roger Waters as a backup vocalist on his 1999–2002 tour In the Flesh” as well as the 2006–2008 tour, “Dark Side of the Moon Live”. P.P Arnold turns 72 today and for over 50 years she has been writing music history.

 

Watch P.P Arnold performing “First Cut Is The Deepest” on German TV Show “Beat Club” in 1967

Listen to some of P.P Arnold’s most notable contributions for music compiled by Pop Expresso on Spotify

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