Soul Singer Howard Tate Dead at 72

Rolling Stone

Soul singer Howard Tate, who was effectively lost to fans for years after his once-promising career was cut short, died December 2nd of complications from multiple myeloma and leukemia. He was 72.

Tate, who was born in Georgia and grew up in Philadelphia, was a highly touted young singer in the Sixties and early Seventies, when he recorded for Verve, Atlantic and other labels. A favorite of the producer Jerry Ragovoy, Tate had six Top 40 R&B hits and sang an early version of "Get It While You Can," later covered by Janis Joplin. 

Photos: Random Notes

After an initial splash, Tate's career sputtered. His 1970 album (reissued in 2003), Howard Tate's Reaction, sold poorly despite co-production from fellow singers Lloyd Price and Johnny Nash. After a self-titled follow-up on Atlantic Records also failed to sell, Tate dropped out of the music industry. He worked in the financial industry before a drug dependency landed the singer on the streets in the late 1980s. When he recovered, he worked as a counselor and a preacher.

Located by a Jersey City disc jockey in 2001, Tate played his first show in decades that year in New Orleans. A 2003 comeback album, aptly called Rediscovered, featured covers of songs by Elvis Costello and Prince. Tate continued to perform and record on and off until his death.

View Comments