SotD80 - Joan Armatrading


Inspired by our series of articles looking back at music released 30 years ago, Jimmy Hunter takes a step further back in time to give us a Song of the Day 1980. This week, it's all me, me, me...

Why did I pick this record this week? Well, it’s written and sung by a singer songwriter I’ve long admired yet of whom I’d never call myself a fan [Excuse me? – Ed]. I’ve long been fascinated with the singer too, almost wholly because when she’s not in the limelight, though not a recluse, nobody knows much/anything about her.

I am, of course, talking about the enigmatic, award winning Joan Armatrading with Me Myself I. When I think of her work there are a number of records over a 10 year period (mid ‘70s – mid ‘80s) that spring to mind and bang in the middle is her most commercially successful of the lot.

She had a major shift in style for the album (similarly titled) as a whole and this was enabled in no small part by a new producer, New Yorker Richard Gottherer (fresh from successes with Blondie among other notable, less poppy bands). Yet she retains what I think is quintessentially Joan Armatrading lyrics:

I sit here by myself
And you know I love it
You know I don't want someone
To come pay a visit
I wanna be by myself
I came in this world alone
Me myself I


Perhaps this is what’s influenced my way of thinking of her. Or perhaps the rumours of her sexuality, I’m not sure. I do love a lot of her output and I’ve always liked this single and for me it demonstrates that music in and around the UK charts at this time was more, well, three dimensional than the same time in the US charts: I could write a book on what makes me think that [oh please, not on our account – Ed].

See for yourselves, here she is, all cheekbones and enigmatic looks in a live performance from Germany in 1980 … BUT, have a look at a live performance from 5 years ago instead …



Image - Amazon