Howard Tate: Soul singer who was given a second chance at a musical career

 

Howard Tate, who died on 2 December aged 72, was a soul singer who was given a second chance at a musical career three decades after being derailed by disputes with industry executives, personal tragedy and drug addiction.

Tate was born in Macon, Georgia, and grew up in Philadelphia, where as a teenager he sang with the doo-wop group The Gainors. He was a rising star who later suffered through decades of such extreme darkness that his long-time producer believed he was dead.

In the late 1960s and early '70s, Tate had three top 20 R&B hits, including "Get It While You Can", written by his long-standing producer Jerry Ragovoy and made more famous by Janis Joplin. Tate toured the chitlin circuit with Aretha Franklin as her version of "Respect" climbed the charts in 1967, but within a decade, he had walked away from his career, disillusioned that he wasn't getting the royalties he thought he deserved. He took up a new career selling insurance in Philadelphia. "I got rid of my own records, and I didn't listen to other people's records because I didn't want to flash back," he said in 2003.

Then his daughter died in a fire and his marriage fell apart. He drank heavily, became addicted to crack and other drugs and ended up homeless. By the mid-1990s, he had cleaned up and became a minister, eventually leading a congregation in Willingboro. Around that time, his 1967 album "Get It While You Can", considered a classic by soul aficionados, was reissued on CD.

On the liner notes, Ragovoy wrote that the singer was probably dead, but in 2001, a chance meeting at a grocery store between Tate and a former member of Harold Melvin's Blue Notes tipped off the music world that he was alive. In 2003, he returned to the studio and made Rediscovered, which was nominated for a Grammy. Over the next five years, he toured and released a live record and three more studio CDs.

Howard Tate, singer: born 13 August 1939; died 2 December 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Application Developer / Software Developer

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Brand Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you wish to be part of an exciting journey ...

Anna Woodward: Anna Woodward

£25,000: Anna Woodward: My client is a rapidly expanding global company who sp...

Beverley James: Transactions Manager

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower