On December 13, legendary soul singer, the ‘First Lady of Immediate’, PP Arnold, will be in town to play her first ever Adelaide solo show and remind us all of her prodigious talents.
In the early sixties, Arnold was given the opportunity to become an Ikette in the famous Ike & Tina Turner Revue, an offer which she grabbed with open arms, before subsequently making a name for herself as a solo star in Britain after jumping at yet another timely opportunity presented to her by Mick Jagger and the then Stones’ manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, who saw in her potential to be a successful cross-over artist bridging the pop market and the lucrative ‘underground’ Northern Soul scene.
Quickly signed to Oldham’s Immediate Records label, Arnold was sent out on a package tour with Roy Orbison and The Small Faces and the resultant broad exposure saw her second single, the definitive version of Cat Stevens’ The First Cut Is The Deepest, crash into the UK Top 20.
Needing a new backing band in 1967, she teamed up with Keith Emerson and the other guys who would go on to become The Nice and later the nucleus for prog rock megastars, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
At this time, Arnold also became great friends with Steve Marriott, as well as the rest of The Small Faces, providing backing vocals for classics like Itchycoo Park and Tin Soldier and appearing in their live shows. Marriott also originally wrote Afterglow (Of Your Love) for Arnold to record, but, because the song turned out so well, rescinded on that arrangement and recorded it with his own band but offered her the ‘of its time’ classic, (If You Think You’re) Groovy instead.
By 1968, Arnold had released two albums, The First Lady Of Immediate and Kafunta, and had enjoyed chart success with a run of singles that had peaked with the iconic Angel Of The Morning. She had also recorded a duet with the soon-to-be huge, Rod Stewart who introduced her to her husband to be. The best man at their wedding was none other than Barry Gibb who was also keen to work with this extremely talented vocalist.
With the world opening up for her, Arnold looked to have a huge career ahead of her, but in 1970 Immediate went broke and Arnold, despite signing to Polydor, spent much of the next two decades as an in demand session singer rather than as a solo performer in her own right.
Things could have been different as Barry Gibb did follow up on his offer to work with her but his manager, Robert Stigwood, proved to not be so much of an ardent supporter of the idea, and Arnold’s chance to ride the road to success alongside The Bee Gees was thwarted before the journey could really begin. Sadly, her recordings with Gibb would not see the light of day for nearly fifty years! The band that was put together for these sessions, however, went on to earn their own chapter in rock history, as they became Derek & The Dominoes and recorded the classic, Layla, not so long afterwards.
In 1988, Arnold had a welcome return to the charts with the song Burn It Up, recorded with the Beatmasters, and has since enjoyed a much higher profile in more recent years working with people like Paul Weller, and going out on the road with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.
Steve Cradock, guitarist with the British band Ocean Colour Scene, has also been important in her return to the public eye, singing with his band. Also, after Cradock had heard her ‘lost’ recordings with Barry Gibb and Eric Clapton, he set about salvaging and remixing the material and readying it for a long awaited release. The subsequent album, The Turning Tide, was released in 2017 and Arnold has been on the road touring to promote it since.
Having toured Australia successfully as a solo artist for the first time earlier this year, Arnold will be reforming her Aussie backing group – primarily members of You Am I – and returning for a December tour which will include a show at The Gov on Thursday 13 December.
The show will include all of her sixties classics and career highlights, as well as a few new surprises, so all discerning rock fans, soul boys & girls, and those who simply love seeing music legends demonstrate what makes them great, should grab a ticket now before this show sells out!
PP Arnold and her Australian backing band (Tim Rogers, Andy Kent & Russell Hopkinson of You Am I, James Black and The Wolfgramm Sisters) will perform at The Gov on Thursday, December 13.
Tickets available here: https://davidroywilliams.com/tours/pp-arnold-2018/