EXPIRED: 12/02/11 – Howard Tate, 72, had been thru a lot. There were 3 top 20 hits, a crack addiction, homelessness and a false death report. Then a comeback.
“When you love somebody, you’re taking a chance on sorrow / Who knows, baby, we may not, may not be here tomorrow / Get it while you can.”
His song “Get It While You Can” was a minor hit for him, but a huge milestone for Janis Joplin when she recorded it years later. Despite the success of the song, Tate never made much money from his recordings. Back then black artists didn’t make much – they had no protection – and money just disappeared amongst shift managers, promoters and record companies.
So he was forced to walk away from the music business in the 1970s and got a job selling insurance. Tragedy struck his family a few years afterwards when his 13-year-old daughter died in a house fire. Then his marriage fell apart, he lost his home and he turned to cocaine, scrambling all over southern New Jersey looking for odd jobs to support his habit.
But in 2008 he had a comeback, with an album called “Blue Day.” And although it was short lived, it might be some of the most heartfelt blues you will ever hear. He oozes the blues.
Rest in peace, brother.