Joan Armatrading

Jerry Moss signed Joan Armatrading to A&M Records to only the U.S. and Canada in 1972. A&M gained world-wide rights in 1975. A&M Records, Ltd. put her on tour with with fellow A&M artists Supertramp, Nils Lofgren and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils to give her experience.

Derek Green, Managing Director of A&M Records, Ltd. told Music week that, "For six months I wrote [producer Glyn Johns] a note every day telling him...that he had to work with her. And then he gave it his full attention and agreed, and they went out and cut that magnificent album."

Her first album Whatever's for Us sold 12,000 copies.

Back to the Night was voted one of the year's top ten albums of 1975 by an English critics poll.

The Joan Armatrading album was supported by four tours (150 days on the road) of the U.S. between July 1976 and May 1977, a promotional film and a live promotional album for radio (Live at the Bijou Cafe in Philadelphia). The promotional film was converted for use in movie theaters and ran with the major films "Rocky," "Network" and "Brothers" in ten cities to coincide with tour dates. Live at the Bijou Cafe was released through Superstar Radio Network which had 31 stations around the U.S. More than 200 radio stations played cuts from the album. The initial album print run was 6,000 copies--the same number of albums as its predecessor album Back to the Night had sold. In the next 11 months, it sold more than 250,000 copies. A&M President Gil Friesen told Billboard, "We're working her career instead of a record." Harold Childs, A&M Vice President of promotion told Billboard, "What broke Joan was a combination of touring and radio play. Her coming back four times gave her exposure and kept the album alive." Armatrading said, "I always wanted things to happen slow. The longer the better as long as I see some kind of progression. I'd be scared if it happened big."

Joan Armatrading sold over 150,000 copies of her album Show Some Emotion in Great Britain.

Jerry Moss got the idea for the How Cruel EP. After hearing the demos he wanted to release them rather than wait for the album to be completed. While an album might have taken another eight months to a year, the time for these four songs from recording to street was about six to eight weeks. The single "Rosie" was released for promotion only to support the EP. In Canada the initial release of the EP was recalled because consumers were unaware that the record only had four songs. A full refund was offered. Canada added a sticker "A specially priced mini-album, $5.98 or less. Four songs that couldn't wait for an album. A&M regrets the inconvenience to retailers and consumers." 

Armatrading made transcontinental tours of Canada in 1978 and 1980.

Joan Armatrading tour of Canada

Joan Armatrading  in Toronto. Doug Chappell (national promotion), Lorna Richards-Guilbert (publicity), Mike Stone (manager), Joan Armatrading, Jee Silversides (Ontario promotion) J.P. Guilbert (national promotion)


Me Myself I sold over 100,000 units in England.

Walk Under Ladders was supported with full page ads in music, trade and national newspapers; two weeks of radio spots and in-store displays in Britain.

The Free Joan Aramtrading 7-inch, seven song sampler was originally to be included in the Walk Under Ladders album. There were 50,000 copies of the sampler printed and they were ultimately used in promotion with retail. The sampler was released on January 4, 1982. The campaign to increase sales of Joan's catalog also included a poster with local concert dates, print ads, television ads in concert markets and a promotional video.

In Britain A&M Records, Ltd. ran an extensive advertising and promotional campaign for Track Record. The television campaign ran from two to four weeks depending on the region and in total covered 70 percent of the country. Posters were placed in the London Underground and British rail stations. Print ads ran in national and Sunday newspapers and music trade publications. Retail stores had display aids including posters and show cards. 


Back to the Night New Music On A&M Records
Joan Armatrading New Music On A&M Records
Show Some Emotion New Music On A&M Records
Joan Armatrading: How Cruel
Love and Affection: Classics press release

  1. Number One with a Star The Inside of Making a Hit Record. Jean Williams. Billboard, May 7, 1977.
  2. Armatrading's Goal Within Sight. Ed Harrison. Billboard, May 21, 1977.
  3. Persuasive Performer. Horizon, February 1978.
  4. Armatrading's EP Causing Confusion. Ed Harrison. Billboard, January 19, 1980.
  5. A&M Recalls Armatrading Mini-LP How Cruel. RPM, April 5, 1980.
  6. A&M Counters Armatrading Airplay Woes. Sam Sutherland. Billboard, April 3, 1982.
  7. Derek Green Keeping the Faith--Even In the Quietest Moments. John Hayward. Music Week, July 9, 1977.
Recording Years / Label
1972-1992 -  A&M Records
vocals, guitar, piano

There are thousands of artists on the ON A&M RECORDS website. Click on a photograph to take you to a new artist!