Even though he never had huge mainstream success, Howard Tate was well known in the industry for his sophisticated voice and his songwriting. Tate passed away on Friday from complications of multiple melanoma and leukemia at the age of 72.
Tate was born in Macon, Georgia but moved to Philadelphia with his family in the early-40's. While still a teen, he joined a gospel group that also counted Garnet Mimms among its members and, later, the two would form the Philly doo-wop group the Gainors.
In the early-60, Tate became the singer for Bill Doggett's group where he was heard by Jerry Ragovoy who brought the singer first to the small Utopia label and later to Verve. Between 1966 and 1968, he charted four times on the R&B singles, including Ain't Nobody Home (1966/#12 R&B/#63 Pop), Look at Granny Run, Run (1967/#12 R&B/#67 Pop) and Stop (1968/#15 R&B/#76 Pop).
Possibly his biggest success during this time didn't come from his own recordings, but from one of the songs he wrote, Get It While You Can, which was recorded by Janis Joplin.
In 1969, Tate moved to Lloyd Price's Turntable label where he scored two more minor R&B hits but found little success in further recordings for Atlantic and Epic.
Tate dropped out of music in the early-80's and eventually was treated for substance abuse leading to his work as a drug counselor and preacher. He returned to music during the last decade with three albums, Rediscovered (2003), A Portrait of Howard (2006) and Blue Day (2008).