Let me go on record as saying that A&M Records was probably the greatest independent label that ever existed. Just the scope of artists that were signed reads like the greatest hits of rock and roll, pop, jazz, and country. Everyone from co-founder Herb Alpert to gospel legend Amy Grant, to Sting, to Peter Frampton, to Quincy Jones, to the Carpenters, all found their home and starts on this great label.
If you want to find out more, check out A&M Corner. The folks there are a great source of information and history- and their boards are filled with industry folks and fans that love the artists and art involved. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.