Howard Tate, 72, a soul singer who got a second chance at a career three decades after being derailed by disputes with industry executives, personal tragedy and drug addiction, died Dec. 2 in Burlington, N.J., said a spokesman for the Burlington County medical examiner.
Born in Macon, Ga., and reared in Philadelphia, Tate had three top 20 rhythm-and-blues hits in the late 1960s and early '70s, including "Get It While You Can," written by his longtime producer Jerry Ragovoy (who died in July) and later recorded by Janis Joplin.
Tate toured with Aretha Franklin as her recording of "Respect" climbed the charts in 1967. But he eventually walked away from music, disillusioned that he was not receiving the royalties he thought he deserved, and became an insurance salesman in suburban 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 told the Associated Press in 2003.
Then, Tate later recounted, tragedy struck. A daughter died in a fire. His marriage fell apart. He began drinking heavily, became addicted to crack and was homeless for a decade in Camden, N.J. Ragovoy and others thought he had died.
By the mid-1990s Tate had overcome his addictions and became a minister. He returned to the recording studio in 2003 to make the Grammy-nominated album "Rediscovered," with Ragovoy producing and doing most of the writing. Tate later toured and released four more CDs.
"A call from God" had brought him back to an industry he had "hated and despised so bad," Tate once said.
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