A&M RECORDS, LTD. HISTORY

A&M RECORDS LTD. HISTORY 1960s

1963       1965       1966       1967       1968       1969      

1962: LICENSING U.S. RECORDINGS tO PYE RECORDS

A&M Records was established in the United States in 1962. The company licensed its first recordings in Britain to Stateside Records in 1963 and 1964. It created a licensing agreement with Pye Records from 1965 until March 1974. Original A&M recordings were issued with Pye International stock numbers, reissued on Pye Records, until 1967 when it began releasing A&M Records with the A&M label and logo on the recordings. The first single with the A&M logo was "Casino Royale" by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

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1963: TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
 Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1)

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1965: TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
 Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1)

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1966: TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (3) 
Chris Montez (1)
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1) 
Chris Montez (1)

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1967: THE A&M RECORDS LOGO APPEARS IN BRITAIN

In March, A&M Records announced its recordings would still be distributed by Pye Records but with the A&M logo and A&M stock number. The Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass single "Casino Royale" was the first record released (AMS 700). The single peaked at #27.

 

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (2)Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1)

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1968: TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (3)Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1)  
Long John Baldry (1)  
Sandpipers (1)

The best-selling single of the year was Herb Alpert's "This Guy's In Love With You." The song peaked at #3.

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1969: A&M RECORDS, LTD. ESTABLISHED

A&M Records, Ltd., in March 1969 opened with four staff members: John Deacon, Larry Yaskiel, John Dyer and Robin Blanchflower.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN
ALBUMSSINGLES
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1) 
Blodwyn Pig (1)
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1) 
Checkmates Ltd. (1) 
Sandpipers (1) 
Ike and Tina Turner (1)

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A&M RECORDS LTD. HISTORY 1970s

1971       1972       1973       1974       1975       1976       1977       1978       1979

1970: RECALLING AN ALBUM

A&M Records, Ltd. released and recalled its first album A Witch Is Born by Alex Sanders. A&M realized the risk it had taken on a recording about a witch's initiation into a coven. The album also has the distinction of being the first A&M recording to carry a warning label: "Record suitable for adults only." A Witch Is Born is among the most expensive of A&M's collectible records. A&M would be wary of recordings about witchcraft and satanism for many years. In 1976, A&M Records, Ltd. chose to release Chris DeBurgh's Spanish Train and Other Stories with a plain back cover rather than with the drawing of Satan's hand that appeared in other countries.

In June, John Deacon was promoted to general manager. Keith Lowis was appointed to fill Deacon's production manager position. Larry Yaskiel was the European director and general manager of Rondor Music. John Dyer started as the sales promotion manager and became the marketing manager. Robin Blanchflower began as the display representative and took over sales promotion.

Shortly after his promotion, Larry Yaskiel visited 15 countries to negotiate or renew licensing rights for the A&M catalog of recordings. All contracts wre to be finalized by the end of July and include the appointment of a local executive to be responsible for A&M's interests. A&M also wanted each country to sign local talent for A&M and A&M would consider world distribution in return.

In August, A&M negotiated a deal for its own radio show on the Isle of Man's Manx Radio. It was a 13 week run with 26 shows.

On September 25, the Mayfair budget line launched with ten albums including three by various A&M Records artists. The first campaign was titled "Unwind to the Sound of A&M Mayfair." John Deacon told Billboard, "Bargain price records can increase the sales of full price products."

In October, A&M reactivated its public relations office with Pat Pretty as its head.

Artist signings during the year included Humble Pie, Supertramp, the Strwabs, Marc Benno and Cat Stevens.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN
ALBUMS SINGLES
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (3)
Burt Bacharach (1)
Blodwyn Pig (1)
Joe Cocker (1)
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1)
Carpenters(1)
Miguel Rios (1)

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1971: A&M RECORDS, LTD. AND SUSSEX RECORDS

A&M began to distribute the Clarance Avant owned Sussex Records outside of the U.S. and Canada in April. Avant had been instrumental in shaping the deal between Creed Taylor and his CTI Records and A&M in the U.S. Sussex went out of business in June 1975.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Burt Bacharach (1)
Carpenters (1)
Carole King (1)
Waldo de los Rios (1)
Leon Russell (1)
Strawbs (1)
Carpenters (2)
Carole King (1)
Los Pop Tops (1)
Waldo de los Rios (1)

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1972: DEREK GREEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR A&M RECORDS, LTD.

In October Derek Green was named managing director of A&M Records, Ltd. He continued as the managing director of Rondor Music until his successor was chosen.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Carpenters (2)
Humble Pie (2)
Carole King (2)
Strawbs (1)
Carpenters (2)
Blue Haze (1)
Billy Preston (1)
Cat Stevens (1)
Strawbs (1)
Bill Withers (1)

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1973: RESTRUCTURING A&M RECORDS, LTD.

"You have to go at the natural rate of the artists. You can't go any faster than him, and you have to provide for him. But at the same time you have to take your chances and think big."

"Never [sign an artist for] less than ten albums, or at least only on very rare occasions less than that. We are the worst deal in town, but I think we have a great track record. If you sign here it means you have a better than one in two chance of happening, and that is an important consideration."

"We can't pay out a big royalty, but we want people who want to happen, and then we work how much money they are going to make."

"The producers we use are almost as important as the artists we sign. We work only with the best, and those producers will work with us who would not work with other companies."

By now, Derek Green was the managing director of A&M Records, Ltd. Green told Music Week that getting the job "seemed like a ridiculous idea at the time. Jerry Moss said no at first, but I ended up talking myself into the job and by the time I got it I didn't even want it anymore." A&M Ltd. was a staff of 12 with offices on George Street.

"There was a whole rash of about a dozen acts that had been signed in an attempt to build up a market presence here. I fired them immediately. They had no hope and no realistic chance of promotion." Green's plan for the first six months was to get involved in A&R, move the offices to Kings Road and increase the staff to 30-40 with a sales force.

Dave Margerson was named the A&R Director in February. John Mair was hired as the general sales manager. Mair had a staff of five sales people. Mike Ledgerwood joined A&M Records, Ltd. to run the press office.

On the artist side, A&M signed the Esperanto Rock Orchestra for worldwide distribution and Andy Fairweather Low.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) began issuing its silver, gold and platinum certifications for outstanding sales. A silver album meant that combined album and tape sales totaled $188,000 sold at dealer price. A silver single sold 250,000 copies. A Gold single had sales of 500,000 copies. A gold album had $275,000 in album and tape sales at dealer price.

The Carpenters received A&M's only BPI awards, a silver single and a silver album.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Carpenters (2)
Stealers Wheel (2)
Strawbs (2)
Carpenters (1)
Humble Pie (1)
Strawbs (1)
Rick Wakeman (1)

 

A&M Ode, Dark Horse, Firefly Records 1973 Catalog
A&M Records & Tapes Simply Music 1973 Catalog

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1974: MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION

Now with a staff of 12 employees, A&M began a three-year manufacturing and distribution deal with CBS. A&M's other licenses in Europe were:
Barclay in France
Ariola-Eurodisc in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Spain
Sonet in Scandanavia
Ricordi in Italy

A&M's distribution arrangement with Sussex Records ended in September.

On October 26, 1974, Billboard announced that A&M Ltd. planned global release of its product. Until then, British products had to prove their sales potential at home first and were distributed in the U.S. and other countries at later dates.

The label moved to its New Kings Road location in London.

The Carpenters picked up four of A&M's six BPI certifications including the first platinum album certification. Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Center of the Earth won both silver and gold album certifications.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Carpenters (1)
Strawbs (1)
Supertramp (1)
Rick Wakeman (1)
Carpenters (2)
Hudson-Ford (2)

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1975

 

Mike Noble was hired as the A&R manager in January, replacing Dave Margerson who resigned to manage several A&M artists he signed including Supertramp, Chris DeBurgh, Nutz and Paul Travis. Margerson ran his management company from A&M's office. John Adrian was appointed promotion manager. Glen Simmons was named financial director. Alan Firth became the consultant for singles.

Other hires during the year included Glen Simmons.

John Deacon was promoted to the position of commercial director. The sales, marketing, production, stock, exports, accounts and administration reported to him. A&M started its sales force in 1975.

 

A&M Records Ltd. employment ad

 

A&M Records Ireland opened in Dublin.

Thanks to an 80% increase in sales in the mid-1970s from British artists Stealers Wheel, the Strawbs, Hudson-Ford, Rick Wakeman, and with the Carpenters' first four albums in the Top 30 in the British market, A&M enlarged its sales staff to twelve employees. A&M Records, Ltd. moved to its New Kings Road headquarters in London.

The Carpenters "Please Mr. Postman" received a silver certification, A&M's first for a single. The Carpenters, Supertramp and Rick Wakeman each had an album that received both silver and gold certifications this year with Horizon, Crime of the Century and Myths and Legends of King Arthur.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN
ALBUMSSINGLES
Carpenters (4)Carpenters (2)

 

On July 25 A&M Ltd. launched its Hamlet series with ten albums with vinyl priced at £1.79. The albums were also released on cassette at £1.99 and cartridges at £2.29. A&M used radio commercials, full page print ads, plus leaflets, bin and counter packs as well as browser cards. In October and November six more albums were released. Hamlet had been in development for six to eight months before its launch. 

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1976: SEVEN GOLD AND PLATINUM ALBUMS

John Cokell was hired as the marketing manager.

Seven BPI awards were given to A&M. British artists Gallagher and Lyle's album Breakaway and Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! went both gold and silver. Joan Armatrading's self titled album went silver. The Carpenters received two gold album certifications.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

 

ALBUMS SINGLES
Peter Frampton (3)
Gallagher & Lyle (3)
Carpenters (2)
Joan Armatrading (1)
Carpenters (1)
Peter Frampton (1)
Gallagher & Lyle (1)
Nils Lofgren (1)
Rick Wakeman (1)

 

FORMAT AND PRICE STRUCTURE

CATEGORY SERIES PRICE WITH TAX
SINGLES AMS/ODS .70
E.P.s AMEP .99
VINYL ALBUMS

AMLP
AMLS
AMLK/AMLH/ODE 770000/AMLJ
AMLM
AMLJD
AMLD
ODE 99001
CARP 1000

2.25
3.29
3.60
3.99
3.99
4.49
5.99
9.25
CASSETTES CHM
CAM
CKM
CLM
CDM
CXM 99001
2.25
3.60
3.60
3.99
4.49
4.99
8-TRACKS YHM
YAM/YKM
YLM
YDM
YXM 99001
YQM
2.25
3.60
3.99
4.49
4.99
3.99

 

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1977: SIX DAYS OF THE SEX PISTOLS

 

John Cokell was promoted to marketing director in April. Gail Clark was hired as his assistant. John Buckley became managing director of A&M Ireland in June. In August Michael Ross was promoted to art director and Alan McGee was named national promotions executive. Nick Marshall was promoted to creative design manager. Mike Ledgerwood left A&M Ltd. to move to A&M's New York Office as its director of publicity.

Tony Burfield was appointed to the A&M Ltd.'s board of directors. 

A&M renewed its manufacturing and distribution agreement with CBS.

On March 9, A&M Records, Ltd. signed the Sex Pistols for a two year period and a minimum of 20 tracks that could be albums or singles. The public signing was held the next day. The Pistols, apparently not concerned about their release from EMI for inappropriate behavior put on a show for onlookers then defiled A&M's London offices and were rude to the A&M staff. A&M Britain reported the incident to label owners Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. Press reports of the Pistols behavior reached other A&M artists who questioned the signing of this act as so different from the A&M family of artists with Alpert and Moss. Meanwhile, the Pistols' first single "God Save the Queen" had been rushed into production. It was never released because Alpert and Moss bought out the Sex Pistols contract and let the group go on March 16. A few copies of "God Save the Queen" were taken from the manufacturing plant. It is the most highly collectable of A&M recordings.

Eight A&M artists picked up the 11 BPI certifications in 1977--nine silver albums and two gold albums. Andy Fairweather Low and Nils Lofgren had their first silver albums. Peter Frampton, Supertramp, Joan Armatrading, Rick Wakeman, Gallagher and Lyle and the Carpenters returned with new award-winning albums.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Carpenters (2)
Nils Lofgren (2)
Rick Wakeman (2)
Elkie Brooks (2)
Rita Coolidge (2)

FORMAT AND PRICE STRUCTURE

CATEGORYSERIESPRICE WITH TAX
SINGLESAMS/ODS.75
E.P.sAMEP.99
VINYL ALBUMSAMLP
AMLS/AMLH
AMLK/AMLJ
AMLM/AMLJD
AMLD
CARP 1000
2.25
3.79
3.99
4.49
4.99
9.25
CASSETTESCHM
CAM/CKM
CLM
CDM
2.25
3.99
4.49
4.99
8-TRACKSYHM
YAM/YKM
YLM
YDM
YQM
2.25
3.99
4.49
4.99
4.39

 

A&M Records, Ltd. 1977 Catalog
Another A&M Records, Ltd. 1977 Catalog

A&M Records, Ltd. ad for telephone sales

 

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1978: CAMPAIGN FOR CARPENTERS

 

Glen Simmons was promoted to deputy managing director. Tony Burdfield was named senior director. John Adrian assumed the director of promotional activities. Alan McGee was appointed head of promotions. Adrian Sear became the national promotion executive. Christine Mastrogiovanni was named European production coordinator with responsibility for planning and shipping or US and British recordings merchandise and packaging to CBS's manufacturing plant in Holland so they could be released at the same time or close to the release dates set in the US and Britain. 

A&M Records, Ltd. undertook its largest campaign for the Carpenters album The Singles 1974-1978. It was released in England with a 300,000 pound national advertising campaign during November and was A&M Records, Ltd. largest promotion. The campaign included national television ads; radio ads; 750 window displays for retail; 400 posters in rail stations; plus in-store browser cads, streamers, banners, showcards, display packs, carrier bags and posters.

BPI awarded A&M nine certifications. The Carpenters The Singles 1974-1978 received the silver, gold and platinum certifications. Elkie Brooks had two silver albums and one, Two Days Away was certified gold. Rita Coolidge received her first BPI's with two silver albums.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Seven artists and one soundtrack (1)Elkie Brooks (3)
Squeeze (3)
Brothers Johnson (2)
Police (2)

 

On August 25, the Funk A&Merica disco series launched. A&M had special sleeves and custom labels with the Funk A&Merica logo made for the series. A&M promoted the series with ads, posters, buttons and tee shirts.

In November, A&M announced it had a worldwide production deal with Oval Records "to discover, develop and record new artists for the A&M label." 

A&M Records, Ltd. 1978 Catalog

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1979: ENDING A DECADE OF GROWTH

A&M Records, Ltd. now had 60 to 70 employees.

Glenn Simmons was promoted to managing director replacing Derek Green who was promoted to senior vice president. Mike Hales was appointed publicity director.

A&M artists doubled the number of BPI certifications of any preceding year by earning 20 awards this year. The Police accounted for 11 awards and were A&M's first British act to receive a platinum record for Reggatta de Blanc. Squeeze took home the first gold single BPI with "Cool for Cats" and Supertramp's Breakfast in America attained silver, gold and platinum status.

A&M Records, Ltd. had its first #1 single in September with "Message In a Bottle/Landlord" by The Police. In November the plice hit #1 again with "Walking On the Moon." 

A&M Ltd. introduced limited edition (50,000 copies) 10-inch discs. The discs the Reds and Squeeze retailed for $4.98 and $5.98. The Police Reggatta de Blanc was a double album with poster for $8.98. Joe Jackson's I'm the Man was a box set of 5 singles with sleeves that formed a poster for $9.98.

A&M deal with Charlie Gillett and Gordon Nelki, founders of Oval Records ended around October 20, 1979. The licensing arrangement resulted in the release of five singles and one album. Oval said of the split that the deal "wasn't working." Artists Bobby Henry, The Secret and Shrink became A&M Records artists. 

A&M and Music For Pleasure entered a three-year arrangement. This was the first time that A&M recordings were available at budget prices. MFP launched the first eight albums in July 1979. The "Sail Into Summer" print campaign and point-of-sale materials featured Herb Alpert, Carpenters. Wes Montgomery, Chris Montez, Sergio Mendes and the Sandpipers.

The London office began a trial of rush-releasing and directly selling A&M U.S. products because some U.S. albums were not reaching British record dealers. The plan was to give every dealer a chance to hear and sell American albums. 

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Dickies (2)
Joe Jackson (2)
Police (2)
Dickies (3)
Police (3)
Squeeze (3)
Supertramp (3)

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A&M RECORDS LTD. HISTORY 1980s

1981       1982       1983       1984       1985       1986       1987       1988       1989      

 

A&M has never been about cheque book signings of established acts, those deals just wouldn't work for us. We feel we have something creative to offer and want to be involved in the development of a career--that's the most exciting bit. I signed The Police on the strength of some tapes brought into the office by Miles Copeland--one of the tracks was Roxanne.--Mike Noble, Music Week March 28, 1981

 

1980: BRITISH ARTISTS WIN AWARDS

Mike Noble and John Cokell joined A&M Ltd.'s board of directors.

Upon the departure of Glenn Simmons, Derek Green assumed the managing director position.

New artists Hazel O'Connor's Breaking Glass and Joe Jackson's I'm the Man albums were each certified silver and gold. Joan Armatrading and Supertramp also received silver and gold album awards for their latest works. The Police remained the big winner with three silver singles. Their Zenyatta Mondatta album received silver, gold and platinum certifications.

The Police continued delivering #1 hit singles with "Don't Stand So Close to Me" in October.

In May A&M Ltd. announced it had acquired the worldwide soundtrack rights to Hazel O'Connor's Breaking Glass. This was A&M Records, Ltd.'s first soundtrack. The film and the soundtrack were supported with extensive promotion both in music stores and in cinema houses.

Effective June 1 A&M Records, Ltd. set the dealer margin on vinyl albums to 30 percent so that it was the same as cassette tape and instituted a five percent return policy for tape.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Nine artists (1)Police (4)
Joan Armatrading (3)
Brothers Johnson (2)
Hazel O'Connor (2)
Squeeze (2)

 

Britain's Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) issued warnings about U.S. and Canadian copies of A&M albums in Britain. The albums at issue were The Police Outlandos d'Amour and Regatta de Blanc and Supertramp's Breakfast In America.

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1981: NEW RECORDS AND CLASSICS CAMPAIGNS

In February Tony Clark succeeded Glenn Simmons as A&M Records, Ltd.'s commercial director for finance, administration and commerical planning.

In March, A&M Records, Ltd. and I.R.S. Records completed a marketing and distribution deal  for the UK and Ireland. Copeland told Music Week, "This represents an extension of our existing relationship within the UK and gives A&M in the UK access to some of the best new talent in the US."

A&M Ireland reported to Music Week that 60-70 percent of its recordings were produced in Ireland. A&M was located on CBS'  full operation campus. CBS was A&M's distributor. 

The Police received six of the 19 BPI certifications. Their Ghost in the Machine album achieved silver, gold and platinum status during the year. Elkie Brooks also received silver, gold and platinum album awards for Pearls. Squeeze received both a silver album and silver single certifications. Joan Armatrading and Rita Coolidge each had an album that went silver and gold.

Back at #1 on the singles chart in October with "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by the Police.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Twelve artists (1)Quincy Jones (3) 
Police (3) 
Squeeze (3)

 

On May 8, A&M launched The Classics series of two albums on one cassette tape for the price of one tape. The campaign was "Two Into One Will Go" and was supported with national press, consumer ads, in-store and merchandising campaigns. The cassettes used a chromium dioxide tape. 

The fall campaign centered on new albums and singles from Joan Armatrading, the Police, Nine Below 0 and Elkie Brooks. Each of the albums had a single culled from it that was released before the album.

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1982: GREAT YEAR FOR A&M'S BRITISH ARTISTS

Elkie Brooks again scored silver, gold and platinum for her album Pearls II. Supertramp's Famous Last Words and Squeeze's Singles 45's and Under were certified silver and gold while Captain Sensible and the Police each received a silver single award.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Squeeze (1) 
Thirteen artists and one soundtrack (1)
Elkie Brooks (3) 
Dennis Brown (2) 
Captain Sensible (2) 
Squeeze (2)

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1983: A&M ALBUMS GO SILVER, GOLD AND PLATINUM

On November 18, A&M Records, Ltd. issued its first four albums on compact disc (CD). The albums were Synchronicity and Ghost In the Machine by The Police, The Dude by Quincy Jones, and Night and Day by Joe Jackson. At the same time A&M acknowledged that because of supply chain issues and the fact that CD was a new format, the company was unsure about its ability to stock retailers with enough product. 

Annabel Lamb's British single of "Riders On the Storm" was marketed with a free promotional video clip of Annabel performing the song. This was a limited edition. A&M vice president Derek Green told Music week, "We see it as a valid means of establishing an audience for an artist. The clip has advertisements for the LP at either end and the major cost was already paid for because the film was made as a promotion video, and duplication of a three-minute tape in a plain box is very inexpensive." This was the first time a video was enclosed with a single.

The Synchronicity album by The Police was certified silver, gold and platinum and the album's biggest single "Every Breath You Take" was a silver single. The Carpenters, Joan Armatrading and Joe Jackson each had an album that was certified both silver and gold.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Joan Armatrading (2) 
Rock Goddess (2)
Police (3) 
Joe Jackson (2)

 

A&M Records, Ltd. ad for a sales promotion person
A&M Records, Ltd. Sales Promotion employment ad
A&M Records, Ltd> Sales Promotion Person South West Area
A&M Records, Ltd. Sales Promotion want ad Bristol Area
A&M Records, Ltd. art department want ad

 

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1984: CARPENTERS' YESTERDAY ONCE MORE GOES PLATINUM

Three of the five BPI awards were the silver, gold and platinum certifications for the latest Carpenters compilation Yesterday Once More. Chris DeBurgh and the Alarm each received a silver album award.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Jeffrey Osborne (2) 
Thirteen artists and one soundtrack (1)
Alarm (3) 
Jeffrey Osborne (3) 
Captain Sensible (2) 
Joe Jackson (2)

In the February 25 issue of Music Week Derek Green announced, "I am back in the managing director's seat with my sleeves rolled up. I am taking A&M right back to the essence of its base--as an A&R company....No company has such glittering international success credits with homegrown UK talent, and I believe the best chapters of our story have yet to be written. A 'small company' philosophy will be applied as this best suits the A&M ambition of finding and developing superior talent and the subsequent aggressive marketing and promoting of their product."

A&M Records, Ltd. had a staff of 70 employees but let 18 employees go in February.

A&M Records, Ltd. expanded its CD catalog with the release of  five CDs in April. They were:   Rise by Herb Alpert, Kilroy Was Here by Styx, Zenyatta Mondatta by The Police, The Getaway by Chris DeBurgh and Pearls by Elkie Brooks. In May four more titles were released including: The Singles 1969-1973 by Carpenters, Paradise Theatre  by Styx, The Key by Joan Armatrading,  and Blow Tour Own Horn by Herb Alpert.

In May 1984 all of the cassette tapes released by A&M Records were made with chrome tape.

The Styx Caught In the Act Live! on A&M Video was promoted with sleeve stuffers. By May there was 1,000 orders for it.

In September A&M and EMI announced a partnership on Screen Gems by Elkie Brooks and Yesterday Once More by the Carpenters. Under the deal EMI did the television advertising, marketing strategy and distribution.

 

A&M Records, Ltd. ad for a sales promotion employee
A&M Records, Ltd. Sales Promotion West Midlands

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1985: BRYAN ADAMS AND STING ARE A&M'S TOP ARTISTS

Brian Shepherd became the managing directory and Chris Briggs the A&R director on January 1, 1985.

Bryan Adams' Reckless album was the big award winner with silver gold and platinum. Sting's first solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles was silver and gold.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Bryan Adams (1) 
Joan Armatrading (1)
Bryan Adams (6) 
Sting (4)

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1986: A&M's BEST YEAR FOR BPI AWARDS

A&M's first CD singles were released in Great Britain. Considered novelty items, they were successful. By 1987 CD singles sales would exceed that of cassette singles.

Variety reported that A&M launched a campaign for new age music with the Beggars Banquet record label.

In 1986, A&M won 23 BPI awards, the most in the label's history. Chris DeBurgh took the most awards with five. His Into the Light took silver, gold and platinum album certifications and his single "The Lady in Red" was certified silver and gold. The Police took four awards for Every Breath You Take: the Singles from silver through a double platinum certification. Janet Jackson, Suzanne Vega and Supertramp all released albums that were awarded silver and gold status. Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" single was both a silver and gold winner.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Chris DeBurgh (2) 
Seven artists (1)
Janet Jackson (4) 
Suzanne Vega (4) 
Bryan Adams (3) 
Chris DeBurgh (3)

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1987: A&M INTRODUCES 3-INCH CD

A&M introduced the 3-inch CD single in Britain as a promotional item. The first commercial 3-inch CD released by any record compan was A&M's limited edition of Sting's "We'll Be Together." This collector's package included a CD sleeve and plastic adapter to play the CD. While "We'll Be Together" sold out within one week. A&M realized that future CD singles would more likely be 5-inch because the market for the smaller CDs was only about 5,000 units. Promotional CD singles were produced in 1,000 to 5,000 unit lots.

Chris DeBurgh's Into the Light went double platinum. Janet Jackson's Control went platinum while her Control: the Remixes achieved silver and gold status. Suzanne Vega and Squeeze also achieved platinum with Solitude Standing and Singles 45s and Under. Artists Black, Bryan Adams and Sting each had an album that was awarded silver and gold certifications. A&M's first album by various artists A Very Special Christmas which supported Special Olympics also went silver and gold. With 19 BPI awards, A&M enjoyed a fine year.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Ten artists and 
two albums by various artists (1)
Bryan Adams (3) 
Janet Jackson (3) 
Suzanne Vega (3)

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1988: FOUR PLATINUM ALBUMS FOR A&M RECORDS ARTISTS

Half of the eight BPI awards this year were platinum album certifications including a triple platinum certification for Joan Armatrading with The Shouting Stage. Chris DeBurgh Sting and Suzanne Vega enjoyed platinum album success with their albums. DeBurgh's Flying Colors received silver, gold and platinum awards. For the first time an A&M soundtrack won a BPI award. Good Morning Vietnam went silver.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Five artists and 
one album by various artists (1)
Black (2) 
Sting (2)

 

A&M Records, Ltd. 1988 Catalog

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1989: CHRIS DEBURGH ALBUM SHIPS PLATINUM

Of the nine BPI awards, Chris DeBurgh won three with his Spark to a Flame album that achieved platinum status upon release. Sam Brown and Janet Jackson each had an album that was certified silver and gold. The Good Morning Vietnam soundtrack went gold.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMSSINGLES
Five artists and one soundtrack (1)Gun (3) 
Janet Jackson (3) 
Arthur Baker (2) 
Dare (2) 
L.A. Mix (2)

 

A&M Records, Ltd. Catalog 1989

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A&M RECORDS HISTORY 1990s

1991       1992       1993       1994       1995       1996       1997       1998       1999      

1990: ONLY YESTERDAY DOUBLE PLATINUM IN YEAR OF RELEASE

The sale of A&M Records to PolyGram became effective on January 1.

There were two double platinum compilation albums this year, Only Yesterday by the Carpenters and Spark to a Flame by Chris DeBurgh. Only Yesterday was the first album to make double platinum status in the same year that it was released. The Carpenters took the most BPIs--six--four for Only Yesterday plus silver and gold for their 1976 concert album Live at the Palladium now reissued on CD by Pickwick. Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 was certified platinum. Del Amitri, Joe Jackson and Suzanne Vega each had an album that gained silver and gold status. A&M had 17 BPI awards for the year.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Carpenters (2)
Eight artists and one various artists (1)
Janet Jackson (5)
Del Amitri (4)

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1991: EIGHT BPI AWARDS FOR BRYAN ADAMS

Bryan Adam's single "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" spent 16 weeks at #1.

The 23 BPI awards tied 1986 as A&M's best-selling year including eight platinum album and a platinum single award. Bryan Adams had a stellar year with the most BPI awards ever given to one A&M artist in a year. He earned eight awards including A&M's first double platinum single for "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," a triple platinum album with Waking Up the Neighbours and a double platinum album for Reckless. Artists Black and Del Amitri also won platinum album awards for Wonderful Life and Waking Hours. Amy Grant, Extreme and Sting each received silver and gold certifications for an album.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Nine artists (1) Extreme (4)
Bryan Adams (3)
Amy Grant (3)
Milltown Brothers (3)
Sting (3)

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1992: DOUBLE, TRIPLE, QUADRUPLE PLATINUM FOR A&M

Nearly one-third of the 19 BPI certifications were platinum. The Police's Every Breath You Take: the Singles reached quadruple platinum; Bryan Adam's Reckless and Waking Up the Neighbours both went triple platinum, Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles was double platinum, and Extreme's Pornograffitti and The Autobiography of Supertramp attained platinum. Gold albums went to Chris DeBurgh, Extreme, Del Amitri and The Police.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Twelve artists (1) Cece Peniston (6)

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1993: 5x PLATINUM FOR CARPENTERS

Nine of the 20 BPI award certifications were for platinum albums. The Carpenters were the first A&M artist to have an album be certified platinum five times with Only Yesterday. Bryan Adams, Dina Carroll and Sting each had an album that won triple platinum with So Far So Good, So Close and Ten Summoner's Tales.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Seven artists (1) Sting (5)
Dina Carroll (4)
Bad Boys Inc. (3)
Therapy? (3)

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1994: STING GOES SILVER, GOLD, PLATINUM, 2X PLATINUM

A&M received 17 BPI certifications. Sting won four of them, silver through double platinum for his Fields of Gold album. The Carpenters, Sheryl Crow, Soundgarden and Therapy? all had an album that went silver and gold.

TOP A&M RECORDS ARTISTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

ALBUMS SINGLES
Thirteen artists (1) Bad Boys Inc. (3)
Sheryl Crow (3)
Cud (3)
Cece Peniston (3)
Soundgarden (3)
Therapy? (3)

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1995: 4 A&M RECORDS ARTISTS GO PLATINUM

Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade 1986/1996 was a silver, gold and platinum award winning album. Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club achieved platinum status. Chris DeBurgh and Del Amitri both had an album that was certified both silver and platinum.

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1996: FIVE A&M ALBUMS ACHIEVE PLATINUM STATUS

There were 13 BPI certifications awarded to five A&M albums. Design of a Decade 1986/1996 went double platinum. Sheryl Crow, Bryan Adams and Dodgy each received silver and platinum awards for one of their albums.

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1997: COMPILATION ALBUMS BIG BPI AWARD WINNERS

Sheryl Crow's self titled album was certified triple platinum. Sting's Fields of Gold was certified triple platinum and Mercury Falling rose to platinum status. Bryan Adams saw double platinum for 18 Til I Die. Most of the 14 BPI awards went to five compilations albums.

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1998: POLYDOR ABSORBS A&M RECORDS, LTD. 

From 1990 through June 1998, A&M Records, Ltd. had revenue between $30-40 million and profits of $2-3 million.

On June 27, 1998, Billboard reported that A&M Records, Ltd. was being restructured under the merger of its owner PolyGram with Universal Music Group. The reorganization essentially closed A&M's presence in Great Britain after 29 successful years. It removed A&M's marketing and distribution operations. A&M's artists with international recording agreements were transferred to Polydor while British artists were sent to Mercury Records. However, PolyGram also announced A&M would continue to sign new acts and some current artists' new releases would be on the A&M label.

A&M won 12 BPI certifications in 1998. Tuesday Night Music Club went double platinum. The Very Best of Sting and the Police and Expecting to Fly by the Bluetones received platinum awards. Bryan Adams and Del Amitri each had albums that went silver and gold.

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1999

In 1999, there were five BPI awards. Silver, gold and platinum went to The Globe Sessions by Sheryl Crow there was silver and gold for Sting's Brand New Day.

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A&M RECORDS LTD. HISTORY 2000s

2001       2002       2003       2006      

2000: CARPENTERS AND STING GO PLATINUM FOR A&M

Three of the four BPI awards in 2000 went to the Carpenters' Gold which went platinum. Sting's Brand New Day also went platinum.

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2001: STING SOLE BPI WINNER FOR A&M RECORDS

BPI awarded silver and gold certifications to Sting's All This Time in the only A&M awards for 2001.

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2002: SHERYL CROW IS LAST A&M ARTIST TO GET BPI AWARDS

In 2002, the final BPI awards were silver and gold albums for Sheryl Crow's C'mon C'mon.

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2003

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2006: A&M LOGO REACTIVATED; NEW OWNER, NEW ARTISTS

On May 27, 2006, Music Week announced Universal Music was reactivating the A&M label and had appointed two of its A&R people as its principal managers. Simon Gavin who had been the head of A&R for Polydor was named to run A&M. The relaunch of A&M happened around January of 2007. In interviews with Music Week's editor Paul Williams, Simon said, "I think A&M is a new label with an old name. Rolling Stone once described A&M as the classiest label on the planet and that's what we aspire to." He also said, "When we set the label up we wanted A&M to be the hardest place to get a record deal," and "We want the best of all genres and will be selective and focused in our signing policy." The official website for Universal's A&M Records in Britain is A&M Records in the U.K.

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SOURCES:
Top A&M Records Artists In Great Britain:
Neil Warwick, Jon Kutner and Tony Brown. The Complete Book of British Charts Singles and Albums, 3rd Edition. London: Omnibus Press, 2004.
A&M Records' 10th and 15th anniversary books
A&M Records employees
1970:
Executive Turntable. Billboard, June 20, 1970, 48.
A&M Yaskiel Touring Europe. Billboard, June 20, 1970, 50.
A&M Secures Radio Show. Billboard, August 8, 1970, 47.
U.K. A&M to Launch Mayfair Budget Line. Billboard, September 26, 1970, 67.
A&M Lists Banner August Sales Month. Billboard, November 7, 1970, 3.

1973:
A&M Names Green As UK Manager. Record World, October 21, 1972.

Derek Green Keeping the Faith--Even In the Quietest Moments. John Hayward. Music Week, July 9, 1977.

1979:
A&M Budget Rights Assigned in Britain. Billboard, June 23, 1979.
A&M-U.K. Issues U.S. Import LPs at Domestic Prices. Cashbox, April 14, 1979.
Simmons Named to Top Post at A&M UK. Cashbox, September 29, 1979.

2006:
U.K. Steps Up Raids on U.S. Graeme Andrews. Billboard, March 25, 1967.
A&M Marketing Step-Up Seen in Wake of New Appointments. Billboard, March 10, 1973.
A&M Distrib, Pressing Tie Is Seen Strong Alliance for CBS. Billboard, February 16, 1974.
A&M to Set Up Sales Operation in England After Volume Surge. Billboard.
5-Inchers Seen As Best Bet Among CD Singles in U.K. Nick Robertshaw. Billboard, November 28, 1987.
U.K. A&M Executive Quits Charts Post. Billboard, September 2, 1989.
A&M U.K. Restructured. M. Solomon. Billboard, June 27, 1998.
BPI.
A&M Records Back on UK Scene As Universal Appoints A&R Bosses. Paul Williams. Music Week, May 27, 2006.
They A&M to Please. Paul Williams. Music Week, May 21, 2008.

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