Transcript: Transcript A Conversation with PP Arnold: London’s First Lady of Soul

Welcome to A Breath of Fresh Air with Sandy Kaye. Hi and welcome to you. Our very special guest today is Patricia Ann Cole, maybe a little better known to you as PP Arnold.

She’s a phenomenal soul singer whose lifetime of show-stopping performances, both in the recording studio and on stage, have made her an absolute legend. PP, or Pat as she was known then, began singing in church as a child. At the age of 17, she was hired by Ike and Tina Turner to join them singing and dancing as an Iket.

And while on tour in the UK with the Rolling Stones in 1966, PP fell into a relationship with Mick Jagger. PP’s worked with everyone from Mick Jagger to Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Barry Gibb, Roger Waters and so many more. With a stack of hit songs, she’s become known as the UK’s Queen of Soul and today she’s sharing her stories with us.

Thank you so much for having me on the show, Sandy. What I know about you is that you grew up in a family of gospel performers and you started singing at the age of four. Is that right? Well, yeah, I did my first solo when I was four, but I started singing probably straight out the womb.

I was going to church from a baby in arms and singing with my family, congregational singing. But I never had any ambitions to sing professionally. Just a day in the life changed my life.

I went to this audition to be an Iket with friends who were actually going for the audition and the girl that was supposed to go with them didn’t show up. So an ex-girlfriend of my brother’s knew that I sang and she just called me out of desperation to help her get this gig. And so I was very young.

I was 17. I was in an abusive teen marriage. I had two kids.

I just say to them, I can’t really go. My husband’s not going to let me go. And they hung up the phone.

Next thing I know, they were on my doorstep. And I lied and told my husband I was going shopping. And next thing I know, I’m in Ike and Tina’s living room singing, dancing in the street.

We had all the moves and everything. And we finished the audition and Tina goes like, right girls, you got the gig. And I’m going like, oh no, not me.

Not me. I can’t go. My husband’s going to kick my ass when I get home.

I’m not even supposed to be here. And so Tina said, well, if you’re going to get your ass kicked for nothing, why don’t you ride up to Fresno with us and at least see the show? So that day was like this magical day that had started actually from a prayer. Because that morning as I was doing my laundry, I just sort of asked God to show me a way out of this hell that I had created for myself.

So yeah, there I was with this goddess who said, go to Fresno. So I thought, yeah, why not? You know, I’m going to be in trouble when I get back anyway. So I go to Fresno with them and see the Ike and Tina Turner review for the first time.

That was like having a psychedelic experience. When I come back in the morning and sure enough, he was waiting for me. And bam, he like hit me in the head.

And it was like he knocked some sense into me because I remembered my prayer. This is my way out. And the rest is history.

So from one day to the next, your life changed completely. Yeah, Tina Turner turned my life around. Please, please, please, please.

Oh, yeah. Please, please, please, please. Oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah. Baby, please don’t go. Don’t go.

Don’t go. Baby, I love you so. What happens then? You’ve accepted the job with Tina Turner as one of the Ikettes.

And what? Then you started going out on tour with them? I started going out on tour. That was a Sunday when I met them. It was a Monday when I had like appealed to my mom and dad to help me.

There’s no way I could have done it without my mother looking after my kids. So I went on the road with Ike and Tina, which was just an amazing experience. How would you describe that experience? Give us a sense of what that was like.

It was eye-opening to start with, you know, because I was a damaged young girl who had never done anything. I knew nothing about show business, nothing about traveling on the road, nothing about anything. So for me to be on the road with all these musicians and I traveling around in this bus, and it was like a raggedy bus.

It was like this old Greyhound bus. Everybody had two chairs to sleep in because most of the time we would sleep on the bus because we weren’t allowed to stay in certain hotels back then because of the racism. The only place that we would stay would be the holiday inn.

That first experience for me was like I had to go to the loo, and I was trying to get the bus driver to stop the bus. He wouldn’t stop. So I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t stop the bus.

So I was adamant that he stopped at the next station because I had to go to the loo and everything. So he stopped the bus. I get off the bus.

Nobody else follows. I’m surprised. So I go strutting up into the front of the gas station, and this redneck, there he goes.

I asked where the restrooms were, and he goes, You’re not allowed to go in here. Your toilet is in the back. So I still didn’t think of anything.

I didn’t even get it. That’s how naive I was. So I go around the back of the petrol station, and there’s this big sign that says, For Coloreds Only.

It was big-time segregation back then. Yes, Tina. Honey, that was my plan from the very beginning.

Uh-huh. What do you mean? A preacher man? You must be losing your mind. Started what? Oh, really? We would play some integrated clubs, but mostly all-black audiences.

Were Ike and Tina already a really big deal at that time? Wow, Ike and Tina Turner were huge. They had had Gonna Work Out Fine and all of those big hits that they had. Back then, the Ikeettes had had Peaches and Cream.

The girls had a big hit out at the time. I’m so thankful that Ike hadn’t produced. That’s why they left, and that’s why there was this opening for a new set of Ikeettes.

So it was a different time. I learned about being on the road, and we would go out on the road for 90-day tours, and we would be working about 87 days out of those 90 days. When we weren’t staying in hotels, we were sleeping on the bus, getting dressed on the bus, because some of these clubs didn’t even have dressing rooms.

It doesn’t sound like it was too glamorous. Well, it wasn’t that glamorous, but when we hit the stage every night, it was on fire. Oh, yes, you’re mine, all mine Before you start cheating You’re sweet and kind Start playing around You wouldn’t pay me no mind I want it, baby Want your love sometime Just make me feel Oh, yes, you’re mine, all mine Working with Ike and Tina Turner, I mean, that’s the best live experience that I’ve had to this day.

That band, I mean, Ike Turner, no matter what everybody says about him, he was a great musician and a great bandleader. You know, he was strict. Ike was, you know, Ike was Ike.

Back in those days, you know, all those guys were players. James Brown and all of those big bands, you know, all of those bandleaders. They were players.

They had to be. They were hustlers. They were booking themselves.

Because of, like, all the way the industry was set up, they were going from label to label, and it hadn’t crossed over. Even though Ike and Tina Turner were known, especially, they were, like, one of the first Ike and Tina and James Brown and Otis Redding. Things were just starting to cross over because Dick Clark, like, opened the door for everybody.

You know, the Dick Clark Show, and Dick Clark toured all the acts with him. And there was actually a set of Ikes that toured with the Dick Clark Show. You know, they were all great businessmen.

They had to, to survive. They were up against all of the radio, the payola and everything. And I was blessed to be with Tina during the Riverdeep Mountain High time with the recording with Phil Spector, even though I didn’t actually sing on Riverdeep Mountain High.

Because Phil didn’t want Ike to have anything to do with those recordings. Because Ike and Tina needed a record. So Ike allowed Tina to do this record with Phil Spector, hoping to get a crossover hit.

Which they did. Well, not straight away. When Riverdeep Mountain High was actually released in the States, it flopped.

Because the black stations wouldn’t play it because it was too white, and the white stations wouldn’t play it because it was too black. When I was a little girl I had a rag doll Only doll I’ve ever owned Now I love her just the way I love that rag doll But only now my love has grown And it gets stronger In every way And it gets deeper Let me know That whole hopeful spirit that Ike and Tina had at that time was just completely crushed. Tina was devastated, of course, because it was her opportunity to do something different.

Of course, she was a great R&B singer, but she was tired of singing the blues. Tina wanted to be a part of this new rock & roll scene, crossover. She wanted to be able to tour and do stadiums and stuff like the Rolling Stones.

You know, like all the white bands were getting over playing the black music. But black artists weren’t getting those kind of opportunities. I am the little red rooster Two legs that are cold for days I am the little red rooster Two legs that are cold for days And I’m the little red rooster Keep everything in the farm Upset in every way The dogs begin to bark Hounds begin to howl Dogs begin to bark Hounds begin to howl Watch how strange can be Little red rooster’s on the prowl If you see my little red rooster Come on The Beatles and the Rolling Stones opened that door, so because that record flopped in America, fortunately, it was a big hit in the UK.

And so the Rolling Stones invited Ike and Tina to tour with them because they would always have a black act. And it was an opportunity for them to be close to the artist that created that music. Yeah, so that’s how it worked.

So we came over to England to do the tour with the Stones. You got quite friendly with Mick Jagger during that tour, right? She most certainly did. In her book, Soul Survivor, The Autobiography, PP reveals how Mick became a friend and lover and claims she became pregnant by him, making the decision to have an abortion.This is a Breath of Fresh Air with Sandy Kaye. It’s a beautiful day. P.P. Arnold was fast learning about life on the road.


Although she was infatuated with Jagger, she insisted their fling would end, not least because of their mixed race relationship. Mick, she said, had plenty of lovers, plus a girlfriend in Marianne Faithfull, who would occasionally join them in bed. But P.P. also had her share of lovers, like Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, and the small faces Steve Marriott.


It’s really, really strange because, like, all that time with Ike and Tina, I was so shy and so inhibited. A lot had happened with me with Ike and Tina. Anyway, the night before we flew to come to the UK, because I was, like, really afraid of Ike and I had, like, really some unsavory experiences with Ike.


So the first tour that I came back off with them, I left my husband because before I started being an Ike-ette, he had always convinced me that I was just this ugly girl who had messed up his life. When I joined Ike and Tina, I was like the ugly duckling. But when I came back after the tour, I had turned into a swan, right? So where I used to get beat because he thought I was ugly, now I was getting beat because I looked too good.


So anyway, I left him and then I went on my road and I had my first experience of having a lover. And the trumpet player, Gabriel Flemings, he sort of, like, protected me from Ike, really, so I had someone to protect me. Pause there for me a second.


Why did you need protection from Ike? Because Ike was, like, he wanted control of everybody, all the women, you know, all the Ike-ettes. And he had women, everybody who worked with him was part of his… Ike was like a pimp. Tina was his queen.


All the girls that worked, the booking agent and the tour manager, you know, they were all his women. It was like he had a harem. Yeah, so, like, because I was so shy and some things went down with Ike, but I always held on.


My father always told me to never accept money from guys. I’ve never been, like, one of those girls who’s hustling out there, having sugar daddies and all. That’s not my thing.


Anyway, Gabe protected me from Ike. When I flew into London, suddenly I was this young, free, young woman. Just so exciting.


And Mick just cracked me up. He made me laugh. Because, you know, he was this skinny white guy, you know, like, trying to walk black, talk black, be black, sing in the blues with these, like, really luscious lips and everything.


So we just became friends. Did you have a sing with Mick? Well, listen, of course we did. You have to read the book to see how in-depth it all was.


I can’t get no satisfaction I can’t get no satisfaction Yes, I tried, I tried I tried, I tried I can’t get no I can’t get no When you’re driving in my car When a man comes on the radio He’s telling me more and more About some useless information Supposed to fire my imagination I can’t get no I don’t know I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time when Cat Stevens wrote that amazing tune and gave it to me. First Cut is the deepest. So I had a hit record in six months.


So I went home and I brought my kids back to England with me. It must have been a difficult decision for you to make to put your career and your opportunity ahead of playing mother to your kids. Was that difficult for you? Well, it wasn’t at the time because I didn’t think about it in retrospect.


I was doing everything that I was doing for my children. It was a way to support my kids. Luckily, all the hard work paid off.


I was this little girl that had been accepted by the British public alongside Lulu and Sandy Shaw and Dusty. PP had become a very successful British recording artist but Tina Turner wasn’t at all happy with her. Tina was never, never really happy with me the way I left.


I couldn’t leave properly. I had to be kidnapped. It was arranged that after Ike and Tina’s last gig on that tour Ian Stewart and Glen Johns, who was the engineer they would come to the gig.


I had like sneaked all my luggage and stuff and put it in a room. While we were on stage, they got all my bags and when I came off stage, they like whisked me off to Epsom. So everybody thought, well, okay, it’s my last night.


They just thought that I was off to rendezvous with Mick. So I left without giving notice. I knew that that was going to be hard for Tina.


I would have given you all of my heart But there’s someone who’s torn it apart And he’s taken almost all that I’ve got But if you wanna try to love again Baby, you’ll try to love again Try to First cut is the deepest Baby, I know First cut is the deepest But when it comes to being loved, you keep close When it comes to loving, you keep close But when it comes to being loved, you keep close That’s how I know First cut is the deepest Baby, I know First cut is the deepest I was with a group of girls. One girl couldn’t sing at all. She would get fined if she sang.


She looked good and she could do the moves. And so there was the other girl that I was with. She could kind of hold a note.


But I was the main, I guess. So I left them in the lurch, really. Was that because you couldn’t resign because of Ike? He wouldn’t have let you go? He would not have let me go.


I got an irate phone call in Epsom. He had tracked me down. Bitch, are you crazy? Mick Jagger don’t care nothing about your black ass.


You better get… I was really, really scared. And so I just hung up the phone. Suddenly I was free and I was on my own in England.


You’re pretty gutsy. You’ve taken a few punts along the way where you had no idea what you were walking into. Well, I never know what I’m walking into.


You know what I mean? My experience in life, period, as well as the music industry is at the unexpected root. Oh, the lonely people Where do they all belong? Oh, you’ll meet all the lonely people Father must be writing the words of a sermon That no one will hear When no one comes near Look at him working Darning his socks in the night When there’s nobody there What does he pay? Oh, the lonely people Where do they all come from? Oh, those lonely people Where do they all belong? Oh, you’ll meet all those lonely people You put out another album after that first one that featured a whole lot of cover tracks by artists like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bee Gees and, of course, The Rolling Stones as well. Why had you decided to put out covers? Well, that was Andrew’s idea, the Cafunta album, because the First Lady album, most of them were original recordings.


It was a good idea. It was a great album. To love somebody, that’s what opened up the door to the next stage of my journey as a solo artist after Immediate Records folded.


There’s a light And a shadow To be Lived with you Lived with you There’s a way to Do what you want to say Who is there with me? Won’t you come with me? If I ain’t got you If I ain’t got you I said, please don’t go on this life Baby, you don’t know To love somebody To love somebody The way I love you After that album, he continued to work not only as an actress, but as a session singer as well, recording with a whole lot of well-known people. You were in hot demand as a backup singer, weren’t you? Well, I was doing that during the whole P.P. Arnold time, but after Immediate Records, we’ll quickly go into my relationship with Barry Deer. I met Barry Deer through my ex-husband.


He was close to Barry, and Barry was a big fan of my version of To Love Somebody. So Barry wanted to meet me, so through meeting me at a time when we were both at a crossroads, when Immediate folded, everybody went separate ways, all the small faces. Anyway, I connected with Barry and Barry is at a crossroads because the Bee Gees had split up at that time.


So Barry wasn’t doing anything, and he wanted to be doing stuff, so he really liked my voice, so he decided to produce me. And so that’s where all of the music that we did that’s on my Turning Tide album, that it took me 50 years to get the rights to have that music produced because Stigwood Robert was not into me at all. Finally, it all broke down, so then I’m on my own.


So you had recorded the Turning Tide. It was produced and written by Barry Deer. 1968, and then Eric Clapton was also managed by Robert.


After the whole thing broke down with the Bee Gees, Robert put me on tour with Eric. So I put a band together with Ashton Gardner and Dyke, and I was the opening act. After that tour, Robert put Eric and I together, and we did some covers.


We did the cover of Medicaid Agoo, Can’t Always Get What You Want, and Van Morrison’s Brand New Day. When all the dark clouds roll away And the sun begins to shine I see my freedom from across the way And it comes right in on time Well, it shines so bright And it feels so much like And it comes from the sky above Makes me feel so free Makes me feel like me And it lights my life in the morn It seems like It seems like The Delaney and Bonney band that later became the Dominoes, those were the guys playing on all of those tracks. Rita Coolidge and Bobby Whitlock and myself and Doris Troy, we were like that gospel choir thing that was happening.


So those recordings are like really kind of soulful gospel kind of vibe. You said it took 50 years to get that album released. Why had it been shelved? Yeah, because Robert stopped the recordings with the Bee Gees and those recordings were just put on the shelf.


And he didn’t like the recordings that Eric did with me. So he just put those on the shelf. By that time it was the 70s and all PP Arnold wanted to do was be part of the British invasion.


She’d met Fuzzy Samuel, the bass player for Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the two went back to the U.S. together. I connected with Barry again. They were doing the Sergeant Pepper movie.


So I actually went to Miami to finish the work with Barry, thinking that would be the way forward. But it wasn’t to be, because basically I didn’t have a support system behind me to be able to make that happen. So we ended up doing one track.


Barry produced a duet with Andy and I. A beautiful, beautiful cover of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. The light of love is in your eyes But will you love me tomorrow Is this a lasting treasure Or just a moment of pleasure Can I believe the magic of your sigh Will you still love me tomorrow Tonight with words unspoken You say that I, you say I’m the only one P.P. remained in Miami for a few years before deciding to return to the U.K. And guess who she reunited with there? Stay tuned to find out.


This is a Breath of Fresh Air with Sandy Kaye. It’s a beautiful day. Immediate records had been established by ex-Rolling Stones manager Andrew Oldham and during its brief existence from 1965 till 1970, it had steered a course from the British blues explosion of the 60s through to psychedelia and the dawn of prog rock.


It was the Jagger and Richards song Out of Time that gave the label its first home-grown hit with Chris Farlow. You don’t know what’s going on You’re in a world you want to know You can’t come back You are still mine You’re out of touch, my baby My cold-fashioned baby I said, baby, baby, baby You’re out of time Oh, baby, baby, baby You’re out of time I said, baby, baby, baby You’re out of time Yes, you are, my baby Yes, you are I said, baby, baby, baby You’re out of time Oh, baby, baby, baby You’re out of time Immediate Records’ success was also with the small faces Steve Marriott. Well, Steve and I were friends forever.


I have visitations from him from time to time. He was my heart, he was my soul brother. Our connection with the Immediate Records, the intention was to do a British Motown.


All the artists were working together, producing one another, writing things for each other. So my relationship with Steve is from Immediate, and he was my soul brother, my soul mate. You’ve seen a lot, haven’t you? You’ve seen so much change, you’ve seen people come and go and leave this world.


Yeah, so many of my friends are on the other side, but I’m still inspired by them. I have visitations from time to time. Steve Marriott co-founded the rock band Small Faces and Humble Pie.


He became a mod-style icon in his day, but died in 1991 when a fire, which was thought to have been caused by a cigarette, swept through his 16th century home in Essex. He was 44 at the time and was listed in several rock magazines as one of the top 100 greatest singers of all time. Over bridge of sights To rest my eyes in shades of green Under dreaming spots To Ichiku Park, that’s where I’ve been What did you do there? I got high What did you feel there? Well, I cried And while the tears did Tell you why It’s all too beautiful It’s all too beautiful It’s all too beautiful It’s all too beautiful Are you really inclined to blow my mind? Get it on, the decks will let pop They all come out to groom about It’s all too beautiful I’ve learned that if I’m gonna survive, that it’s down to me.


And plus, I am spiritually connected so that I know gifts, blessings. I keep my heart open for magical things to happen in my life. And I just keep the faith.


And that’s really inspired me even more because I’ve got a lot going on again. My book was released. It was really accepted, received well by the media, by the fans and everything.


I’ve got the best books of 2022 on the rough trade listings, on the uncut magazine listings. PP says writing her book, Soul Survivor, was therapeutic for her. Oh, it’s even more therapeutic because I wrote that book and I never showed my book to anybody.


It’s only since I’ve been promoting the book that I’m talking about these things. So I’m actually going through therapy promoting the book. In addition to the book, PP recently released a Christmas song that shot straight to number one on the heritage charts.


I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s quite reminiscent of the Phil Spector sound of the 60s. It won’t be Christmas, baby Ooh, Christmas It won’t be Christmas, baby Ooh, Christmas The lights on Broadway sparkle and glow Inside my heart is cold as the falling snow Was that a shooting star in the sky Or is it just tears in my eyes If only you could hold me close We’d kiss beneath the mistletoe Laugh about the things we used to do Christmas without you But if one wish will come true Christmas without you It won’t be Christmas, baby Ooh, Christmas It won’t be Christmas, baby All of Sleigh bells ringing out And silly dreams come true The track was originally supposed to be for Cher, and Cher was busy doing other things, so the track got gifted to me. And so when I heard the track, I just thought, wow, I was into it straight away, you know, because it had the whole West Coast, the old Spector with all the sound, Ronit, Crystals, and that whole period just had everything that a Christmas record’s supposed to have in it, like all the jingles and the bells and that really sexy sax solo.


So I went in there and I thought, oh, God, the key. I wasn’t sure about the key. I always keep my vocals together, even when I’m not working.


I look after my voice, but it was kind of high, you know, so I felt like, oh, I never want to sound, no matter how old I am, I always said, I never want to sound like an old lady, because a lot of singers, if you don’t take care of your voice, you will. It’s a muscle, you know, you got to kind of keep it going because I love recording. And I’ve got a great tune.


I got a Soul Survivor tune. Because of the success of that Christmas record, everybody, we’re just like recording this new album that’s like originals and some great duets. But one of the tracks that I recorded, Soul Survivor, and it is, wow.


I’m just so excited about the music. And like, even though I’m not doing a full blown out tour because it doesn’t make sense to do a tour, because as an independent artist, it’s expensive. It’s tough for everybody out here.


So I’ve got good, decent gigs where I can actually make some money because I never make any money. Because by the time I pay for everything and everybody, there’s nothing left for Pete. I can’t pay to play.


And I think fans don’t realize that a lot of artists like myself, independent, that’s just sort of like major artists, that’s what we do. For me, I’m not one of those artists that’s like, well, I’m going to get out of the business and get a day job. This is my life.


Born in the heart of the city In a ghetto they call Watts Right on the outskirts of Hollywood Staying cool when the pressure got hot Spent my life watching suffering and poverty But my gift it was to see So I went on the move With a rock and roll band I’ve been through A soul survivor I came across all kinds of people Some were cool and some were not But that didn’t stop me from doing my thing I gave it everything that I got I sang songs of love and songs of freedom Poured on my heart and sang you the blues I’ve been up, I’ve been down I’m a soul survivor I’m a soul survivor for sure. You know, I have to sing. That is my gift.


I was given this gift and these opportunities that continue to happen, you know, to show me that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. If I’m an example of strength, it’s amazing. Pippi Arnold, of all the songs that you’ve sung, is there one favourite one that you like to sing best? Hey, listen, I am so blessed to have a catalogue that I just really, really, really love.


But I have to say, you know, for me, First Cut is the Deepest and Angel of the Morning, those songs, you know, they are great, great songs. There’ll be no strings to bind your hands Not if my love can’t bind your heart And there’s no need to take a stand For it was I who chose to start I see no need to take me home I’m old enough to face the dark Just call me Angel of the Morning Angel Just touch my cheek Before you leave me Baby Just call me Angel of the Morning Angel And slowly turn away from me Maybe the sun’s light will be dim And it won’t matter anyhow First Cut is the Deepest. Even though I know Rod and Cheryl and everybody did all these versions afterwards, but that is my song.


When Cat Stevens gave me that song, that was my life. It was if he had just wrote it for me. I live that.


I know when people do covers of things, they do covers because they think it’s a great song, but that is my true experience. And I’ve sung those songs thousands of times, and every single time, it’s emotional for me. Those songs, they’re so beautiful.


You do them so exceptionally well. I have a live album from the 2019 tour that Steve Kranick and I did. Demon Records is putting together a five LP box set of my history, things that have never been heard, demos, the new album.


Gosh, after 60 years, you are still so on fire. Maybe more on fire now than you ever have been. Hey man, I got work to do.


I want some completion before I get out of here. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only life. But this is my life.


Here, you know, I’m gonna move on to that great gig in the sky and be there with my mates and my ancestors and everybody. But right now, it ain’t over till it’s over as far as I’m concerned. Lovely chatting with you.


Thank you so, so much for your time. It’s no wonder you’ve written one book. You’ve got another one in you, at least another one.


You’re amazing. Give everybody my love. God bless.


Hasn’t she crammed a lot into her life? The very talented P.P. Arnold there. If you’re interested to read more about her early life, pick up a copy of her book Soul Survivor. That’ll take you right through to 1984, but we will have to wait for the next edition to bring us up to current times.


Thanks so much for your company today. I’ve really enjoyed being with you. Hopefully you’ll tune in again same time next week.


Do take care of yourself, won’t you, until we meet again. And have lots of fun. Bye now.