Producer Snuff Garrett Dies

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Garrett with Cher

Record producer and entertainment industry entrepreneur Thomas Lesslie “Snuff” Garrett, who made his mark on the pop and country charts in the 1960s and ‘70s with such music as the #1 singles “This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys and “Half Breed” by Cher, died Dec. 16, 2015, of cancer, at age 77, at his ranch in Tucson, Ariz.

The onetime DJ from Dallas, Tex., joined Liberty Records in 1959, first producing Johnny Burnette’s “Settin the Woods on Fire.” Among other artists he worked with at Liberty and later Kapp and MCA Records were Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Buddy Knox, Walter Brennan, Sonny & Cher, Dean Martin, Sonny Curtis, Tanya Tucker and others. His production of Vicki Lawrence’s 1972 recording, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” was a surprise #1 pop hit. He was also responsible for hiring Phil Spector to do work for Liberty Records and employing Leon Russell as his assistant.

A series of instrumental albums, featuring solo guitar work by Tommy Tedesco of The Wrecking Crew, called The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett, yielded six Billboard Top LPs chart placements. In a canny move in 1976 he bought the rights to 800 old Republic and RKO Films titles and quickly built a multi-million dollar annual business in the early days of home video.

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