The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Joshie Jo Armstead

Share on Social Media

Information about Joshie Jo Armstead

Profile image of Joshie Jo Armstead

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Songwriter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Turnip Greens, Fried Chicken, Hot Water Corn Bread and Sliced Tomatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
The Islands and the Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Never Let Them See You Sweat.

Birthplace

Born:
10/8/1942
Birth Location:
Yazoo City, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Songwriter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Turnip Greens, Fried Chicken, Hot Water Corn Bread and Sliced Tomatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
The Islands and the Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Never Let Them See You Sweat.

Birthplace

Born:
10/8/1942
Birth Location:
Yazoo City
See how Joshie Jo Armstead is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer and songwriter Joshie Jo Armstead was born on October 8, 1944 in Yazoo City, Mississippi to Wilton Armstead and Rosie Lee Armstead. As a youth, she sang in the church choir and was introduced to blues music by her grandfather. Armstead’s first performance was with Bobby “Blue” Bland in Mississippi, before joining a local band, Little Melvin & The Downbeats.

Armstead began her singing career when she joined the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in 1961, as one of the original touring Ikettes along with Eloise Hester and Delores Johnson. She toured with them from 1961 to 1963, and recorded the Ikettes record “I’m Blue (The Gong Gong Song).” Released in 1962 and featuring Tina Turner singing backing vocals, the song reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the R&B chart. After leaving the Ikettes in 1963, Armstead moved to New York City and began recording music under the name Deena Johnson. There, she met Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford and formed the writing trio of Armstead, Ashford, & Simpson. The trio wrote tracks for artists such as Chuck Jackson, The Shirelles, and Doris Troy, but their greatest success came when they wrote Ray Charles’ 1966 #1 hit “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” and the follow up single “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”

When Ashford & Simpson signed with Motown Records in 1966, Armstead left the trio and moved to Chicago, where she married music producer Melvin Collins and the couple founded their own record label, Giant Productions and wrote songs for Garland Green, Ruby Andrews, Syl Johnson and many others, also collaborating with famous music arranger Andrew “Mike” Terry. She returned to New York in 1970, following the collapse of Giant Productions and her marriage to Collins. She sang back up in Bob Dylan’s 1971 single “George Jackson,” and performed in B.B. King’s Live in London show, Melvin Van Peebles’ Broadway show, the film Don’t Play Us Cheap and the Broadway musical “Seesaw.” Armstead also recorded singles with the Stax offshoot label Gospel Truth, and sang backup vocals for Burt Bacharach’s LP “Features,” before returning to Chicago in the early 1980s and starring in Oscar Brown Jr.’s musical “Journey Through Forever.” Armstead’s songs include “Stumblin Blocks, Steppin’ Stones,” “I’ve Been Turned On,” “A Stone Good Lover” and “I Feel An Urge Coming On.”

Josephine “Joshie Jo” Armstead was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 15, 2016.

See how Joshie Jo Armstead is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joshie Jo Armstead's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her maternal family in Yazoo City, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her mother's professions
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the origin of her family's name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her sister's relationship with Ike Turner
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her experiences in Yazoo City, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about southern blues singers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her family's home in Yazoo City, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls Yazoo City High School No. 2 in Yazoo City, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers a racist incident from her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her early interest in singing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the birth of her daughter
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls performing with Little Melvin and the Downbeats
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her mother's religious faith
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes the formation of The Ikettes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls joining The Ikettes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her touring experiences with The Ikettes, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her touring experiences with The Ikettes, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls The Ikettes' hit song, 'I'm Blue'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers leaving The Ikettes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls making a record in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers moving to New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about working with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls writing 'Let's Go Get Stoned' for Ray Charles
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes Valerie Simpson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her songwriting partnership with Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers founding Giant Records
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls discovering her ex-husband's copyright fraud
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her ex-husband
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her experiences as a background singer in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers working with Bob Dylan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls working as a studio backup singer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers acting in the play 'Don't Play Us Cheap'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls appearing in 'Seesaw' on Broadway
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers signing a contract with Gospel Truth Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the decline of Stax Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers Tina Turner
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls working with Burt Bacharach
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about living with her daughter in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers working in the advertising industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls becoming the first female boxing manager in Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls working as boxer Alfonso Ratliff's manager
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her interest in fashion
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers attending The New School for Social Research in New York City
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the culture of the music industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers founding Preacher Rose Records
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls her performance at Littlefield in Brooklyn, New York
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her retirement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead shares her advice to aspiring musicians
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Joshie Jo Armstead narrates her photographs