Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading,December 9 1950, Saint Kitts

Joan Armatrading, the third of six children, was born in 1950 in Basseterre, then a British colony. Her father was a carpenter and her mother was a housewife. When Joan was three years old, her parents moved to Birmingham in England with their two eldest boys, sending her to live with her grandmother in Antigua. Upon turning seven, she moved to Brookfields, then a district in Birmingham, with her parents. During his youth, her father played in a band, and later forbade his children from touching his guitar. (The area has been absorbed into Hockley.) Armatrading began writing songs at the age of 14 when she set her own limericks to music on a piano her mother bought. After her mother bought her a £3 guitar from a pawn shop in exchange for two prams, Armatrading taught herself to play.

At 15, Armatrading left school to support her family. As a result of playing her guitar during tea-breaks at work, she lost her first job (as a typist and comptometer operator).

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