Passings: Producer "Snuff" Garrett (1939 – 2015)
Thomas Lesslie "Snuff" Garrett, whose productions topped the pop and country music charts throughout the 60's and 70's, died on Thursday at his ranch near Sonoita, AZ. He was 76.
VVN Music received the news via the Facebook page of Sundazed Records:
Well, crap.. Just received word that my friend, legendary producer Snuff Garrett passed away today. He was a GREAT GUY, and one of best damn folks we ever worked with. A true visionary. RIP, pal. Thanks for your friendship…and thanks for everything.
They later posted a remembrance:
SNUFF GARRETT: re: the first time I ever spoke to Snuff… I was supposed to call him at a specific time. He was at his Idle Spurs Ranch in Arizona… I dialed, he answered, and I started to introduce myself… He stopped me and said, "Bob, before we continue, do you mind if I ask you a question?" I said, "of course not!" He said, "Bob, I have to ask you – are you born again?" I got this sinking feeling, thinking we had just roadblocked. I said, "no Snuff, I'm not…" He said, "Then f%&k yeah, we can do business together!!!"
Garrett worked as a producer for local bands at the age of 15 and, two years later, became a DJ in Lubbock, TX where he met and got to know Buddy Holly. He later moved to KSYD in Wichita Falls, TX where he broadcast a tribute to Holly after his death in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. That broadcast is available via Rock Radio Scrapbook.
Later in 1959, Garrett moved into the record business, becoming a producer for Liberty Records in Hollywood. First assigned to Johnny Burnette, he went on to work with Bobby Vee, Gene McDaniels, Buddy Knox, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Del Shannon and others.
He also ventured into recording albums under his own name as The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett. Featuring the solo work of guitarist Tommy Tedesco, six of the albums made the Billboard 200 including 50 Guitars Go South of the Border (1962 / #36), Maria Elena (1964 / #94) and 50 Guitars in Love (1966 / #99).
During the 70's, Garrett worked extensively with Sonny & Cher along with Cher as a solo artist. Later in the decade, he became extensively involved with country music producing hits for Tanya Tucker, Eddie Rabbitt, David Frizzell and Shelly West.
Garrett later became a movie mogul, buying the libraries of RKO and Republic Films in the mid-70's and capitalizing on the films as the video revolution started with VHS releases through his company Nostalgia Merchant.
Snuff retired in the mid-80's to his ranch.
A sampling of records produced by Snuff Garrett:
- Cut Across Shorty – Eddie Cochran (1960)
- Dreamin' – Johnny Burnette (1960 / #11)
- You're Sixteen – Johnny Burnette (1960 / #8)
- A Hundred Pounds of Clay – Gene McDaniels (1961 / #11)
- Take Good Care of My Baby – Bobby Vee (1961 / #1)
- Rubber Ball – Bobby Vee (1961 / #6)
- Run to Him – Bobby Vee (1961 / #2)
- Tower of Strength – Gene McDaniels (1961 / #5)
- Old Rivers – Walter Brennan (1962 / #5 Pop / #3 Country)
- Chip Chip – Gene McDaniels (1962 / #10)
- The Night Has a Thousand Eyes – Bobby Vee (1962 / #3)
- Charms – Bobby Vee (1963 / #13 Pop / #5 AC)
- Count Me In – Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1965 / #2)
- Everybody Loves a Clown – Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1965 / #4)
- Save Your Heart For Me – Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1965 / #2)
- This Diamond Ring – Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1965 / #1)
- My Heart's Symphony – Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1966 / #13)
- Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves – Cher (1971 / #1)
- A Cowboy's Work is Never Done – Sonny & Cher (1972 / #8)
- The Way of Love – Cher (1972 / #7)
- Living in a House Divided – Cher (1972 / #22)
- The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – Vicki Lawrence (1972 / #1)
- Half Breed – Cher (1973 / #1)
- Dark Lady – Cher (1974 / #1)
- Lizzie and the Rainman – Tanya Tucker (1975 / #37 Pop / #1 Country)
- San Antonio Stroll – Tanya Tucker (1975 / #1 Country)
- Every Which Way But Loose – Eddie Rabbitt (1978 / #30 Pop / #1 Country)
- Bar Room Buddies – Merle Haggard & Clint Eastwood (1980 / #1 Country)
- Cowboys and Clowns – Ronnie Milsap (1980 / #1 Country)
- A Texas State of Mind – David Frizzell & Shelly West (1981 / #9 Country)
- You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma – David Frizzell & Shelly West (1981 / #1 Country)
- Another Honky Tonk Night on Broadway – David Frizzell & Shelly West (1982 / #8 Country)
- I Just Came Here to Dance – David Frizzell & Shelly West (1982 / #4 Country)
- I'm Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home – David Frizzell (1982 / #1 Country)
- Lost My Baby Blues – David Frizzell (1982 / #5 Country)
- Flight 309 to Tennessee – Shelly West (1983 / #4 Country)
- Jose Cuervo – Shelly West (1983 / #1 Country)