American soul singer P.P. Arnold has penned a memoir called “Soul Survivor,” in which she alleges that, during the time she was a member of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Ike Turner “trapped her in a room and raped her.” The allegation was published in an interview she did with the Telegraph in the U.K. ahead of the book’s release there.
In the interview, Arnold, now 75, references the assault, stating: “It was awful. I despised Ike on that level, but I didn’t know how to express myself. I was told Tina [Turner] wanted to get rid of me because Ike was after me. If I had run to Tina or called my parents, it would have meant I would have [had] to come home.” At that point, still a teenager, she had already experienced considerable violence at the hands of an abusive husband as well as her father, she said.
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The article does not mention when the assault occurred. Arnold’s time as an “Ikette” with the Turners was a brief one — 1965-66 — although long enough for her to be immortalized on film in the “Big T.N.T. Show” concert film and sing backup on tracks including “River Deep, Mountain High.”
Her tenure with the Turners ended when she left the Ikettes at the persuasion of Mick Jagger. She also says she became romantically involved with him and his then-girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, concluding her thoughts on the relationship by saying, “There was a plantation feel about it, like I was a plaything.” In the interview, she says she had an abortion during the relationship.
Arnold told the Telegraph that her memoir had been in the works since 1994 but she couldn’t find a publisher because “when you’re hot you’re hot and when you’re not you’re not. Nobody seemed to be interested.”
The soul singer, a native of South Central Los Angeles, found solo fame in the U.K. with her debut single, the debut recording of Cat Stevens’ “The First Cut is the Deepest,” before he recorded the classic tune himself. It reached No. 18 in England and was the first of her 10 charting singles there. In her native America, she remained lesser known, with none of her singles reaching the charts. She also had a British hit with a recording of “Angel of the Morning” long before it became a standard in the States.
Arnold continued to enjoy success as a backup singer, appearing on hits like Small Faces’ “Tin Soldier” and albums by Humble Pie, Nick Drake and Oasis. She had a decade-long stint touring with Roger Waters and appeared on his post-Pink Floyd studio and live albums. A sophomore solo album she worked on with Barry Gibb never got finished or released.
Her memoir ends with her finding success as a member of the cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Starlight Express” in 1984. Earlier, she had been among the background singers on the composer’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” album.
The Telegraph describes her book as “a sizzler,” full of revelations about her time with some of rock’s biggest stars, including duet partner Rod Stewart. “I just thought, ‘These guys were my friends, but they didn’t even mention me in their books.’ I’m not ashamed,” she says in the interview. “I was young, I was experiencing my life and hey, boom, here it is.”
A boxed set encompassing her career as a solo artist and backup singer is reported to be in the works. Arnold played the Glastonbury festival for the first time in late June.
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