When Judy and I went on honeymoon to Spain in 1979, it rained. It rained a lot. I eventually stormed into the local police station demanding to know when the sodding sun was coming out because that was the only reason we were there. They were understandably not amused, so I wrote this about a father and his young son.
I wrote this some time in the early eighties when rap and hip-hop were starting to emerge. I thought it would be fun to write a song about a Russian teenager who just wanted to get to New York and dance on the streets. I took it to a top producer. I remember his words. "Tim old son, your education is getting in your way." Funnily enough, a lot of what I imagined sort of came true.
The Prince Charles Rap
Poor old Charles, I wrote this when he and Diana were newly-wed and he was on a diet. So much remains true though - about the Queen, "She claims that age does not affect her, but I want the crown and the orb and sceptre!"
My only professional credit. Having written a song for the audition for the original casting of "Cats" (which I didn't get), Gillian Lynne, the choreographer, remembered me when she came to directing a TV drama called "Easy Money" about a black boy who falls in love with a white girl who turns out to belong to the National Front. I've got my version in bits on the VHS tape of the play, but here's Tony Armatrading in a rare vocal outing!
Down in Solihul
A silly cover of J.J. Cale's "Down in Hollywood"
This was written at the height of Thatcherite unemployment and unrest, with the redoubtable Jon Dixon on steaming harmonised lead guitar - so good we did it twice!
The heyday of the Atari and Cubase. Late nights avoiding nappy duty, huddled over synths with Tony and peering at black & white screens. And check out the Armatrading slap bass!
Quangos In The Shelter
My only punk outing! Bristol in the 70's. Teamed up with some lads and we recorded this in one pass - in mono. My song, my guitar, my vocals. A lot of it quite prescient in a way.
Woke Up This Morning
1971. I guess this is where it all started!