As a 15-year-old student at Chicago's DuSable High School, Joanne Garrett won a recording contract with Chess Records for finishing first in a Regal Theater talent show, no small feat considering Chicago's vast talent pool. The deal produced "Stay by My Side," a huge local hit, in 1966.
She followed with Dee Clark's "You Can't Come In" (March 1967) and a remake of the Heartbeats' "Thousand Miles Away" (1968), with the Dells (uncredited) providing backing vocals on the A-sides. Garrett left Chess in 1968 to record for Duo Records and another label. With Andre Williams producing, she cut "That Little Brown Letter" backed with "I've Gotta Be Loved" in 1968 on Duo; later in 1968 she cut "One Woman," arguably her most popular recording. Chess emptied their vaults and released "It's No Secret" and "Unforgettable" b/w "We Can Learn Together" in 1970, but they were strictly local.
Despite her age, Chi-town producers recorded Garrett in a Dinah Washington-esque vein, but that changed on her sole release for Don Robey's Duke/Peacock setup in Houston, TX, where she waxed Barbara Hammonds' "I'm Under Your Control" b/w "Sting Me Baby"; it was her first record in three years, but the 1973 release duplicated her previous paltry sales figures and the Duke stay was brief. A final single, "Don't Abuse Your Faithful Love" b/w "Charlie Boy (We Got to Love One Another)," credited as The Rock With Joanne Garrett, appeared on Scorpio Records; it flopped, and sadly, after a good start, Garrett rarely saw the inside of a recording studio again. Her flops became popular Northern soul items.