Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Joan Armatrading - Drop the Pilot

Joan Armatrading is yet another artist who should have had more American success, but never quite found her audience.  In some ways this is understandable, as her music is eclectic and a bit hard to categorize.  However, she is a really solid singer/songwriter and well worth a listen.

Armatrading was born in Saint Kitts, but her family moved to Birmingham (UK) when she was young.  John Peel (the famous UK disc jockey) became a fan early on, and was a supporter of hers throughout her career.  While Armatrading is a bit of a cult figure in the U.S., she had a successful career in Britain, with 14 charting singles between 1976 and 1992.

"Drop the Pilot" from 1983's The Key was her biggest U.S. hit, peaking at #78, while the LP hit #32.  The video is a wonderful combination of a performance and an old movie, with the old Purple Rose of Cairo trick thrown in.  (Yes, I know that Purple Rose of Cairo came out 2 years after this video.)  Additionally, "Drop the Pilot" is representative of Armatrading's work in that it contains elements from multiple musical styles.

For readers who are interested in checking out other songs, I recommend "I Love It When You Call Me Names," "Love and Affection," and "Me Myself I."

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