Joan Armatrading Agrees Her ‘Call Me Names’ Hit May Be Considered Inappropriate Today -
Joan Armatrading photo by Ros O'Gorman

Joan Armatrading photo by Ros O'Gorman

Joan Armatrading Agrees Her ‘Call Me Names’ Hit May Be Considered Inappropriate Today

by Paul Cashmere on June 23, 2021

in News

Joan Armatrading agrees that her 1993 hit ‘I Love It When You Call Me Names’ could be considered by some a song about abuse these days.

The lyrics read:

“Big woman and a short, short man
And he loves it when she beats his brains out
He’s pecked to death but he loves the pain
And he loves it when she calls him names”

“These days people would say ‘that’s totally inappropriate’ and ‘why are you doing this’,” Joan Armatrading tells “You need to look at things in a certain way. I’ve seen many comedians say they can’t tell a joke anymore because people are worried about the joke not being appropriate. You’ve got to be able to laugh. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself as well. It is very important that have humour. Music is first, humour is second”.

Despite the “pollical correctness” now attached to the song, Joan still performs it. “The audience still love the song so I can still play it on stage and people are really happy because they really like the song,” she says. “You have got to be able to say and do certain things in a light-hearted way. That song is not serious. It’s about a big woman and a little man. It is quiet funny and a bit cartoonish. You are not meant to think it is a great big spousal abuse type of thing. It is meant to be light-hearted”.

Joan wrote the song after she witnessed what she considered was a cartoonish exchange between two men. “The reason I wrote that song was there were these two chaps, a big guy and a little guy. They weren’t gay. It’s just how they were. But the little guy was always trying to bully the big guy. I was thinking, ‘why does he do that?’. This guy was twice the size not only in height but in girth. And yet he was always hitting the guy. That’s why I wrote that song. If you saw those two, you’d just laugh”.

‘I Love It When You Call Me Names’ was a hit from the 1983 Joan Armatrading album ‘The Key’ The album peaked at no 4 in Australia, no 10 in the UK and no 32 in the USA. The song reached no 20 on the Australian singles chart in 1983.

In 2021, Joan has just released her 20th studio album ‘Consequences’.

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