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A&M Records is an Americanmarker record label owned by Universal Music Group which operates through the Interscope-Geffen-A&M division.

Company history


A&M Records was formed in 1962 by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. Their first choice for a name was “Carnival Records,” under which they released two singles before discovering another label had taken the Carnival name first. The company was subsequently renamed A&M, after Alpert's and Moss's initials. From 1966 to 1999, the company's headquarters were on the grounds of the historic Charlie Chaplin Studio at 1416 North La Brea Avenue, near Sunset Boulevard in Hollywoodmarker. The A&M studios and executive offices are now the home of Jim Henson Productions, which operates Henson Recording Studios, while the financial center is home to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, A&M had such acts as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Baja Marimba Band, Burt Bacharach, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, We Five, The Carpenters, Chris Montez, The Captain and Tennille, Quincy Jones, and Paul Williams. Folk legends Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, and Gene Clark also recorded with the label during the 1970s. Billy Preston joined the label in 1971.

In the late 1960s, through direct signing and licensing agreements, A&M added British artists such as Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Fairport Convention, Free, The Move, and Spooky Tooth. In the 1970s, under its manufacturing and distribution agreement with Ode Records, A&M released albums by Carole King, Hummingbird, and the comedy duo Cheech and Chong. Other notable acts of the time included Nazareth, Y&T, The Tubes, Styx, Supertramp, Rick Wakeman, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Squeeze, and Peter Frampton. On March 10, 1977, A&M signed the Sex Pistols after the band had been dropped by EMI. However, A&M dropped the band within a week. A&M sustained its success during the 1980s with a roster of noted acts that included Falco, Atlantic Starr, Janet Jackson, The Police, Suzanne Vega, Oingo Boingo, Annabel Lamb, Bryan Adams, Vital Signs, Joe Jackson, and Scottish rock band Gun.

Within a decade of its inception, A&M became the world's largest independent record company . A&M releases were initially issued in the United Kingdommarker by EMI's Stateside Records label, and then under its own name by Pye Records until 1967. A&M releases were also issued in Australia through Festival Records until 1989. A&M Records, Ltd. was established in 1970, with distribution handled by other labels with a presence in Europe. A&M Records of Canada, Ltd. was also formed in 1970, and A&M Records of Europe in 1977. In 1979, A&M entered a distribution agreement with RCA Records (which later became BMG) in the USA, and with CBS Records in many other countries.

Over the years, A&M added specialty imprints: Almo International for middle of the road; Omen Records (1964–1966)for soul; Horizon Recordsfor jazz (1974–1978); AyM Discosfor Latin-American; Vendetta Records for dance music (1988–1990); and Tuff Break Records for hip-hop music.

The PolyGram years

A&M was bought by PolyGram in 1989. Alpert and Moss continued to manage the label until 1993. The sale to PolyGram stipulated that Alpert and Moss had an integrity clause allowing them to control the label's image through 2009. In 1998, Alpert and Moss sued PolyGram for breach of the integrity clause .

In 1991, A&M launched Perspective Records through a joint venture with producing team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Jam and Lewis stepped down as CEO's of the imprint in 1997, but remained on as consultants. In 1999, the label was absorbed into A&M. In the mid-1990s, A&M began distributing its PolyGram sister label Polydor Records in the USA.

During the 1990s, the company continued to release albums by Soundgarden, Extreme, Amy Grant, John Hiatt, Sting, Blues Traveler, Barry White, and Aaron Neville, as well as material from new artists Sheryl Crow, Therapy?, CeCe Peniston, and the Gin Blossoms. The company released the soundtracks Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Three Musketeers, Sabrina, The Living Sea, Demolition Man, and Lethal Weapon 3.

A&M under Universal Music Group

In 1998, PolyGram was bought by Seagrams and merged into its Universal Music Group. A&M was subsequently merged into Universal Music Group's then newly formed Interscope-Geffen-A&M label group. Its Canadian division was absorbed into Universal Music Canada that time, and included Jann Arden alongside other artists from Canadamarker. Bryan Adams continued to record on that label.

The A&M lot on La Brea Avenue was shut down in January 1999. It is now operating as Henson Recording Studios. During the farewell celebration, the company's staff placed a black band over the A&M sign above the main entrance, indicating the death of the company. Most of the company's workforce, some of whom had been with the company for a decade or more, were let go, while many of its artists were dropped. Al Cafaro stated

"This isn't about Universal or Seagram.
The record business is changing fundamentally.
Don't think that there are calm seas on the other side of this threshold.
If the quake that devoured A&M and Geffen is a 6.0 on the Richter scale, there is a 7.0 coming in this industry.
It's a Wall Street world now.
Get ready."

Alpert and Moss sued Universal Music Group in 2000, claiming that they had violated a contractual agreement stating that A&M Records would be allowed to retain its corporate culture . The suit was later settled.

The first multi-platinum A&M Records release under Universal Music Group and Interscope was Sting's 1999 album Brand New Day.


In February 2007, Universal Music Group partnered with Octone Records to relaunch the A&M label, now headed by James Diener and called A&M/Octone Records with worldwide distribution handled by UMG. While newer signings are usually funneled through the A&M/Octone venture, previous signings continue to record for the main A&M label.


Affiliated labels

Former subsidiaries

Current subsidiaries

See also



External links

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