Friday, 10 July 2020

Marcel Azzola born 10 July 1929


Marcel Azzola (10 July 1927 – 21 January 2019) was a French accordionist, credited with using his rare technical mastery of one of France’s most emblematic instruments to adapt it to the world of jazz.

Marcel Azzola was born in Paris in 1927 to Italian parents: his father, Giuseppe (a builder, 1896–1978) and his mother, Angelina (1901–2002) both came from Bergamo. Marcel had two elder and two younger sisters. His parents had moved to France in 1922.

His father had conducted a mandoline orchestra in Italy, and Marcel, like two of his sisters, learned to play the violin. He abandoned the instrument after a year. In 1936, he began playing accordion, after he became familiar with the accordion orchestra of Pantin. Six months later, he started lessons with Paul Saive, who had been the music teacher of Jo Privat. Soon after, Azzola started taking lessons from Attilio Bonhommi instead. He accompanied Bonhommi during jazz concerts, first as a percussionist, and later as an accordionist.
At 11 years old and having just finished his primary education, Azzola became a professional accordionist. At first he played with the Aveugles de Pantin, but soon he switched to the "Orchestre de l'Amicale Accordéoniste de l'Humanité", a politically leftist orchestra. In 1939 he won first prize in the junior category at the Concours de Suresnes. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Azzolas moved with Bonhommi to Draillant in the French Alps. Only his father Giuseppe remained in Pantin. After a year the family returned to Paris, and Azzola started taking lessons with Médard Ferrero. At the same time, he worked as an in-house accordionist in many bars in Paris.

In 1943, he left Ferrero and studied under Jacques Mendel, until Mendel, who was Jewish, fled Paris in an unsuccessful attempt to hide from the Nazis. Azzola also became friends with Geo Daly, then still an accordionist but later primarily a vibraphone player. Daly introduced him to contemporary American jazz; most of Azzola's education up that point had cantered on classical music and French musette and chanson.

After the liberation in 1944, Azzola continued to work in multiple bars and for organisations including the American headquarters of the Red Cross in France. He taught himself to play the bandoneon. In 1946, he travelled through Germany for six months to play for American soldiers.

His classical culture, his ability to decipher, made him from the late 1940s a highly sought after studio accordionist. In 1949, he participated in the recording of Sous le Ciel de Paris by Edith Piaf. Then in the 1950’s he recorded his first songs for Barclay Records and started collaborating with some of the greatest names of the French chanson, including, Barbara, Yves Montand, Boris Vian, Gilbert Bécaud and Juliette Gréco. He also played with European jazz musicians Stéphane Grappelli and Toots Thielemans. He played on some soundtracks and his music can be heard in multiple Jacques Tati movies including Mon Oncle.  


                 Here's "Petit Eideweiss" from above 1956 EP

                               

He accompanied Jacques Brel on his last three albums. During the recording of Vesoul, the latter overheard and amazed by the solo improvisation that Marcel Azzola does then sends him his cult apostrophe "Chauffe Marcel, chauffe!". The expression, launched in full recording of the song, has entered everyday language. He also record a hundred of film scores.

The accordion and its variants, he often pointed out, were honoured more in Argentina than anywhere else in the world. But he fought his corner in France, and it paid off. As a professor for 20 years at the national music school in Orsay, he campaigned mightily for accordion to be included as a course at the Paris Conservatoire. He had the delight not only of achieving that, in 2002, but of sitting on the jury that chose the first prof d’accordéon.

If anyone felt that was not quite right and proper, he had only to show them his collection. He possessed dozens of accordions, many rich and rare. Most came from Parisian antique shops, some were presents.He displayed them in brass-framed glass cabinets, and online he gave virtual tours. All the latent nobility of the instrument was on display there: its ancient lineage, from Laotian and Chinese metal-reed pipes, and its aristocratic birth in the early 19th century, as an instrument for fashionable drawing rooms.

He was made a Commander (the highest rank) in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. This high-class musician was also a charming man, praised for his kindness and modesty. "He always had respect for people," says Philippe Krümm.

Azzola had suffered for a very long time from Dupuytren's disease in the right hand. As the ailment worsened, his activity reduced considerably in recent years. He spent most of his time in the manor house of Villennes-sur-Seine which he shared with Lina Bossatti, talented pianist and violinist, where he died in January 2019 at the age of 91.   (Edited from Wikipedia, The Economist  & Lexpress.fr)

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Lee Hazlewood born 9 July 1929


Lee Hazlewood (July 9, 1929 – August 4, 2007), was an American country and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer, most widely known for his work with guitarist Duane Eddy during the late fifties and singer Nancy Sinatra in the sixties.

Barton Lee Hazlewood was born in Mannford, Oklahoma; his father was a wildcat oil driller and dance promoter. In 1942 the family moved to Port Neches, Texas. After Huntsville high school, Hazlewood enrolled at Southern Methodist University in Dallas to study medicine, but was soon conscripted. Having married his high-school sweetheart, Naomi Shackleford, he served in Japan as armed services radio DJ and saw combat during the Korean war.

After he was demobilised in 1953, he and Naomi shifted to Los Angeles, where he studied broadcasting and landed a DJ job in the small town of Coolidge, Arizona. In 1955 he moved to KRUX radio in Phoenix, where he championed Elvis Presley. Certain he could do as well as the music he was playing, Hazlewood began writing songs and set up his own label, Viv. Then came The Fool. It was Hazlewood's innovative recording techniques that turned the single (when licensed by Dot Records) into a hit.

Failure to repeat that success found Hazlewood returning to Los Angeles, where he hooked up with entrepreneur Lester Sill. Hazlewood produced guitar tracks for teenager Duane Eddy, imaginatively employing reverb to create a potent sound, and he licensed these to Jamie Records. Eddy's second single, Rebel Rouser (1958), was a US and British hit, and the guitarist went on to enjoy a further 14 US and 25 British hits.


                              

The young Phil Spector was impressed by Hazlewood's sound, and spent time with him in his Phoenix studio studying how he used reverb and other effects to create hits. Spector's early productions appeared on the Trey label owned by Hazlewood and Sill.

Dismayed by the Beatles' success and the "British invasion" of the US charts, Hazlewood announced his retirement in 1964. Yet the following year Reprise Records managed to convince him to reconsider, with the prospect of producing Dino, Desi & Billy - three Hollywood 13-year olds. Having produced two hits for the trio and given Dean Martin (Dino's father) a hit with his composition Houston, Hazlewood was then asked to produce Frank Sinatra's daughter Nancy. She had been recording for four years with no success; Hazlewood told her to sing in a lower register and they immediately scored a minor US hit with So Long, Babe.

Later that year Hazlewood wrote These Boots Are Made for Walking. The result established Nancy as one of pop's hottest mid-60s singers, with Hazlewood producing all her recordings and writing many of the hits. In 1967 Hazlewood produced Somethin' Stupid, a Nancy-Frank duet which topped the US and British charts. Hazlewood often shared duets with Nancy - Some Velvet Morning was one of the tracks on their 1968 album Nancy & Lee - and in 1971 they scored a British number two with Did You Ever? Hazlewood scored and acted in several films and also licensed his songs for film and TV soundtracks.

In 1967 Hazlewood signed The International Submarine Band to his LHI label. While their sole album Safe At Home was not a hit, their leader, Gram Parsons, would soon be championed as the pioneer of "country-rock". More recently, that title has been bestowed on Hazlewood, who released his first solo album, Trouble Is a Lonesome Town, in 1963, thus introducing a gothic mix of pop and country that has since proven very influential. Alongside his pop productions, Hazlewood released wilfully eccentric solo albums; all were commercial failures, and his 1973 album Poet, Fool Or Bum received a one-word review in the NME - "bum".

Having settled in Sweden in 1970, Hazlewood released, on average, two albums a year until retiring from the music industry in 1978. Resurfacing in 1993 with the duet album Gypsies and Indians (with Anna Hanski), he then relocated to the US, toured with Nancy Sinatra and was surprised to find himself a cult figure: his albums were reissued by Sonic Youth and Tindersticks, and he was championed by Jarvis Cocker. In 1999 he headlined at London's Royal Festival Hall, returning in 2002, when he was backed by a band of leading British experimental rock musicians. In 1999 he released Farmisht, Flatulence, Origami, ARF!!! and Me..., his first album of new material in 20 years.

Of his cult status, Hazlewood remarked, "Thank God for kids that love obscure things! I never thought anyone would pay attention to those records, and it's a good feeling. It makes me feel like I really did get to do what I wanted to do."

Diagnosed with cancer, Hazlewood gave away his gold and platinum discs to friends outside the music industry and worked on Cake Or Death, released to acclaim in December 2006. He died of renal cancer in Henderson, Nevada, on August 4, 2007.  (Edited mainly from Garth Cartwright @ The Guardian)

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Gertrude Niesen born 8 July 1911


Gertrude Niesen* (July 8, 1911 – March 27, 1975) was an American torch singer, actress, comedian, and songwriter who achieved popular success in musicals and films in the 1930s and 1940s.

Niesen was born aboard ship as her Swedish father and Russian mother returned from a vacation in Europe. As a child, she hoped for a career on stage and began performing in vaudeville and went into radio, the movies, the stage and nightclubs, becoming a noted comedian as well as a sultry voiced torch singer.  Miss Niesen was trained for an operatic career, but switched to popular singing, her voice changing from a soprano to a lush contralto that suited the songs popular at the peak of her career.

Credited as Gertrude Nissen, she recorded with Roger Wolfe  
Kahn and His Orchestra and Artie Shaw in a Vitaphone short film, Yacht Party (1932). She also sang and recorded with the Leo Reisman Orchestra for a time.  On old-time radio, Niesen was the featured singer on The Ex-Lax Big Show (1933-1934) on CBS  and host of The Show Shop (1942), on NBC-Blue. She recorded for Victor, Columbia, and Brunswick in the 1930s, and in 1933 was the first to record the song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach.


                               

One of the jobs that brought her to national attention was a weekly showcase in support of Rudy Vallee on a national network show. This lasted for more than three years. She appeared in the Broadway musical Calling All Stars in 1934 and in the Ziegfeld 
Follies of 1936. The original Cast Included: Fanny Brice (her final Broadway appearance), Bob Hope, Gertrude Niesen, Josephine Baker, Hugh O'Connell, Harriet Hector, Eve Arden, Judy Canova, Cherry & June Preisser, Nicholas Brothers, John Hoysradt & Stan Kavanaugh. It was choreographer George Balanchine's Broadway debut. Music was  by Vernon Duke with Ira Gershwin providing the lyrics

During 1936 there was a taxi shortage in Chigago. Here’s a quote from the local rag, “Gertrude Niesen, Hollywood star, found her own solution to the taxi problem in Chicago recently. 
Miss Niesen who races midgets on the West Coast used one to commute between her hotel and the night club where she was appearing Her publicity man can probably explain how she drives in traffic without licence plates…….” Her Broadway credits also include Follow the Girls (1944) and Take a Chance. 

In Oct. 1938, she recorded the song "La Conga" with Ernesto Lecuona's Cuban Boys in London, England.  She also began to appear regularly in movies, including Top of the Town (1937), Start Cheering (1938), and A Night at Earl Carroll's (1940), in which she sang a song that she co-wrote, "I Want to Make with the Happy Times".

She made headlines of another sort in 1941, when she became the owner of Rosecliff, an elaborate Newport villa that had been built for Mr. and Mrs. Hermann Oelrichs. The villa, said to be worth $2.5‐million, was acquired for $17,000 by Miss Niesen's mother at auction. Niesen told a local newspaper that she enjoyed the 22 bedrooms and 22 baths.

Gertrude outside her estate in 1941
At the time, there was considerable interest in how the dowagers of Newport would receive their new neighbour. The Niesens inspected the white marble, 50‐room villa, and then, before Newport could make up its mind, the family sold the structure for what was said to be a good profit.

Her other films included Rookies on Parade (1941), This Is the Army (1943), He's My Guy (1943), and The Babe Ruth Story (1948). Perhaps her most important role was that of the burlesque queen in “Follow the Girls,” which also starred Jackie Gleason in 1944. In the show she sang "I Want to Get Married", which became one of her better-known songs. The show ran for more than 800 performances in New. York before it took to the road. It was also the high point of Niesen's career.  In 1946, she appeared on the Philco Radio program starring Bing Crosby. She also appeared on other radio shows including 'Duffy's Tavern'. ("Hello, Duffy's Tavern, Archie the manager speaking, Duffy ain't here.")

She recorded for Decca Records throughout the 1940s. Among her hit recordings were "Where Are You", and "Legalize My Name", with music by Harold Arlen and  lyrics by Johnny Mercer. In 1950, Miss Niesen appeared in the West Coast version of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” playing the Lorelei Lee role originated by Carol Charming. She also released a self-titled LP for the label in 1951. She also appeared on many radio shows and on TV in the early 1950s but was pretty much out of the business within a few years.

In 1943, Niesen married Chicago nightclub owner Al Greenfield. The couple divorced but remarried in 1954, remaining married until Niesen’s death. She died in Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Hollywood, California in 1975, aged 63, after a long illness.


*There are other spellings of the artist's name, and you may find her mentioned as Gertrude Niessen, Neissen, Neesen or Nielsen.    (Edited from Wikipedia, Confetta @ jazzagemusic, the New York Times & Google books)

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Tiny Grimes born 7 July 1916


Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes (July 7, 1916 – March 4, 1989) was an American jazz and R&B guitarist. He was a member of the Art Tatum Trio from 1943 to 1944, was a backing musician on recording sessions, and later led his own bands, including a recording session with Charlie Parker. He is notable for playing the electric tenor guitar, a four-stringed instrument.

Born in Newport News, Virginia, he taught himself to play piano, and by 1935 was featured in amateur shows around the Washington DC area. Drawn to the excitement of the Harlem music scene and the opportunity to perform professionally, he moved to New York City in 1937 where he played piano in a  joint called the Rhythm Club. In 1938 he gigged with a group called 'The Four Dots', and began going by 'Tiny', a nickname he acquired as a child growing up in Newport News.

It was during this time in New York City when he taught himself to play the guitar. He purchased a banged-up four-string guitar at a Harlem pawn shop for the sum of five dollars. Later asked why he decided to play four-string rather than the usual six, he replied, "'Cause I couldn't afford the other two strings!" He quickly became adept at playing the guitar, drawing inspiration from the immortal Charlie Christian and a local guitarist named 'Snags' Allen.

In 1940 he joined a popular harmony group called 'The Cats and The Fiddle', replacing Herbie Miles on the 'fiddle'. His first recording session was on January 20, 1941, sitting in on eight tunes for RCA's Bluebird label. The group went back into the studio in October of 1941.

Tiny left the 'Cats' in 1942 and headed west to the burgeoning music scene in California. He joined up with bassist 'Slam' Stewart of 'Slim and Slam' following 'Slim' Gaillard's abrupt departure for the U.S. Army. Shortly thereafter Tiny and Slam found themselves jamming regularly with prodigal pianist Art Tatum. Soon this gifted trio was headlining in New York City to rave revues and fanatical audiences on 57th Street. This infamous jazz trio was not able to cut any wax until 1944 because of the American Federation of Musicians Recording ban of 1942-1943. When the ban was lifted they recorded under the name 'The Art Tatum Trio' for the Brunswick Label. They also recorded for a small outfit called Comet Records, whose discs are considered collectable.

After leaving Tatum, Grimes recorded with his own groups in New York and with a long list of leading musicians, including vocalist Billie Holiday. He made four recordings with his own group, augmented with Charlie Parker: "Tiny's Tempo", "Red Cross", "Romance Without Finance", and "I'll Always Love You Just the Same", the latter two featuring Grimes' singing.


                                

Signed to fledgling Atlantic Records in 1947 Grimes charted his own idiosyncratic course, largely forsaking jazz for rock ‘n’ roll, albeit a highly refined technically proficient version of rock. The next fall he scored Atlantic’s first official hit “Loch Lomond” and put together an eclectic band of musicians he dubbed The Rockin’ 
Highlanders, who appeared in kilts and which would at various points include such luminaries as sax star Red Prysock and pianist/singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. In addition to his own work he may (or may not – details are sketchy at times) have appeared on many other notable tracks by artists through the years which further shaped the rock sound.

With Paul Williams, he co-headlined the first Moondog Coronation Ball, promoted by Alan Freed in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 21, 1952, often claimed as the first rock and roll concert. In 1953 he may have played on the Crows one-hit wonder, "Gee", that has been called the first original rock and roll record by an R&B group.
Grimes and his band toured all through the 1950s.

Grimes continued to lead his own groups into the later 1970s and he recorded on Prestige Records in a series of strong blues-based performances with Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet, Pepper Adams, Roy Eldridge and other noted players including, in 1977, Earl Hines. Although maintaining a fairly low profile, he stayed pretty much in the New York club scene and was active up until his death, playing in an unchanged swing/bop transitional style and recording as a leader for such labels as Prestige/Swingville, Black & Blue, Muse, and Sonet

Grimes died in March 1989 in New York City from meningitis at the age of 72.

(Edited from Wikipedia, IMDb, Spontaneous Lunacy & interservicesnetwork)

Monday, 6 July 2020

Bill Haley born 6 July 1925


William John Clifton Haley (July 6, 1925 – February 9, 1981) was a pioneering American rock and roll musician. He is credited by many with first popularizing this form of music in the early 1950s with his group Bill Haley & His Comets and has sold over 60 million records worldwide.

Haley was born in Highland Park, Michigan, and raised in Booth's Corner, Pennsylvania. Many sources state that Haley was born in 1927, apparently due to Haley taking two years off his age for publicity purposes in the 1950s.

He was blinded in his left eye as a child due to a failed operation. According to biographer John Swenson, Haley later adopted his distinctive spit-curl hairstyle to distract attention from his blind eye. The hair style caught on as a 50s-style signature, although Haley and others had worn the hairstyle much earlier.

In 1946, Haley joined his first professional group, a Pennsylvania-based western swing band called the Down 
Homers. As Haley became experienced on the professional music scene, he created several groups. These included the Four Aces of Western Swing and the Range Drifters. With the Four Aces, he made some country hit singles in the late 1940s, for Cowboy Records. During this time he worked as a touring musician and, beginning in 1947, as musical director at radio station WPWA in Philadelphia. Many of Haley's early recordings from this period would not be released until after his death.

After disbanding the Four Aces and briefly trying a solo career
using the names Jack Haley and Johnny Clifton, Haley formed a new group called the Saddlemen around 1950, recording for several labels. In 1951, Haley was signed to Dave Miller's Philadelphia-based Holiday Records and began to move toward the rockabilly genre, recording "Rocket 88," and in, 1952, "Rock the Joint" for Miller's larger Essex label. These recordings both sold in the 75,000-100,000 range in the Pennsylvania-New England region.

In 1951, Haley crossed paths with The Treniers while playing in Wildwood, New Jersey. Haley arranged for their song, "Rock a Beatin' Boogie," to be recorded by two bands: the Esquire Boys in 1952 and The Treniers themselves in 1953.  During the Labor Day weekend in 1952, the Saddlemen were renamed "Bill Haley with Haley's Comets," inspired by a popular mispronunciation of Halley's Comet. In 1953, Haley's recording of "Crazy Man, Crazy" hit the American charts, considered by many to be the first true "rock and roll" song to do so. Soon after, the band's name was revised to Bill Haley & His Comets.


                              

"Rock Around the Clock" was written for Haley in 1953, but he was unable to record it until April 12, 1954. Initially, it was relatively unsuccessful, remaining on the charts for only one week. However, Haley soon scored a major worldwide hit with a cover version of Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll," which went 
on to sell a million copies and became the first ever rock song to enter British singles charts in December 1954 and became a Gold Record.

Then, when "Rock Around the Clock" appeared behind the opening credits of the 1955 hit film, Blackboard Jungle, starring Glenn Ford, the song soared to the top of the American Billboard charts for eight weeks. It launched a musical revolution that opened the doors for the likes of Elvis Presley and others. "Rock Around the Clock" was the first record ever to sell over one million copies in both Britain and Germany. 

Thus, in 1957, Haley became the first major American rock singer to tour Europe. Haley continued to score hits throughout the 1950s and starred in the first rock and roll musical movies, Rock Around the Clock and Don't Knock the Rock, both in 1956. His star was soon surpassed in the United States by the younger, sexier Elvis Presley, but Haley continued to be a major star in Latin America, Mexico, and Europe throughout the 1960s.

A self-admitted alcoholic, Haley fought a battle with liquor well 
into the 1970s. Nonetheless, he and his band continued to be a popular touring act, enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1960s with the rock and roll revival movement and signing of a lucrative record deal with the European Sonet Records label. After performing for Queen Elizabeth II at a command performance in 1979, Haley made his final performances in South Africa in May and June of 1980.

Prior to the South African tour, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and a planned tour of Germany in the fall of 1980 was cancelled. He soon retired to his home in Harlingen, Texas where he died early on the morning February 9, 1981. Media reports immediately following his death indicated Haley displayed deranged and erratic behavior in his final weeks, although there is little information about Haley's final days. The exact cause of his death is controversial. Media reports, supported by Haley's death certificate, suggest he died of "natural causes most likely heart attack." Members of Haley's family, however, contest that he died from the brain tumour.


In 1987, Haley was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

(Edited from The New World Encyclopedia)

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Tommy "Snuff" Garrett born 5 July 1939


Snuff Garrett (July 5, 1938 – December 16, 2015) was an American record producer whose most famous work was during the 1960s and 1970s.

Thomas Lesslie Garrett was born in Dallas on July 5, 1938. His father, also named Thomas, was a lawyer and bail bondsman. His mother was the former Lila Ables. He got his nickname in South Oak Cliff High School. It was derived from Levi Garrett, a 
popular brand of snuff.  He quit high school in the ninth grade, was hired as an errand boy at a local radio station and then left for Hollywood with the hope of getting into the music business, but the closest he got was selling records in a store on Sunset Boulevard. Returning to Texas, he talked his way into disc jockey jobs in Dallas, Wichita Falls and Lubbock.

At seventeen, Garrett was a disc jockey in Lubbock, Texas, where he met Buddy Holly. He is often still mentioned on the Lubbock oldies station KDAV on a program hosted by his friend Jerry "Bo" Coleman. Garrett also worked in radio in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he performed on-air stunts. On February 3, 1959, Garrett broadcast his own tribute show to Holly after he was killed (along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper) in a plane crash in Iowa.

Snuff with Bobby Vee
In 1959, Garrett became a staff producer at Liberty Records in Hollywood at the age of 19, after having joined the label to work in the promotions department. Although not a musician, Garrett showed he had a knack for finding hit songs, going on to produce a string of hits and becoming the label's head of A&R until he left Liberty in 1966. His first job as producer for the label was on Johnny Burnette's "Settin' the Woods on Fire" on July 9, 1959. Among Garrett's roster of artists were Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Gene McDaniels, Buddy Knox, Walter Brennan, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, and Del Shannon.

Snuff  & Leon Russell 
He was also responsible for hiring Phil Spector for a short period as an assistant producer. Many of Garrett's hit singles came from songs by the Brill Building songwriters in New York City. Others who worked closely with Garrett include future recording star Leon Russell, who often arranged his productions, and Lenny Waronker, Liberty co-founder Simon Waronker's son who became a producer in his own right and eventually president of Warner Bros. Records. Later, after leaving Liberty, Garrett worked with Cher and Sonny & Cher and had his own record labels, Snuff Garrett Records and Viva Records, which the catalogue was licensed to Warner Bros during the 1980s.


                               

Between 1961 and 1969, he released a series of over 25 instrumental albums, featuring solo guitar work by Tommy Tedesco, on Liberty Records by "The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett", six of which appeared on the Billboard Top LPs chart. 
In 1966, Garrett produced an album by singer-songwriter Sonny 
Curtis on the Viva label, The 1st of Sonny Curtis, which contains some of Curtis' most popular tunes, including "Walk Right Back" "My Way of Life", "Hung up in your Eyes", and "I Fought the Law and the Law Won.” Garrett was invited early on to produce the Monkees, but a test session did not go well, with the Monkees preferring to work with Boyce and Hart.

In addition to his hits with Sonny & Cher for Kapp Records and MCA Records in the 1970s, Garrett also produced Vicki Lawrence's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" for Bell Records (a song written by Lawrence's then-husband Bobby Russell), and Tanya Tucker's "Lizzie and the Rainman" for MCA. 
Both of these songs had been intended for Cher; but her husband and manager at the time, Sonny Bono, thought it might offend Cher's Southern fans. Other artists produced by Garrett in the 1970s included Brenda Lee and "singing cowboy" Roy Rogers.

Garrett worked regularly with the Johnny Mann Singers and the Ron Hicklin Singers on many projects, and was responsible for the new sound of The Ray Conniff Singers in the early 1970s 
(which employed the Hicklin Singers), producing two albums with Conniff. Garrett also produced several tracks by Nancy Sinatra in the mid-1970s that were issued by Private Stock Records. In 1976, Garrett set up a sub-label of Casablanca Records, Casablanca West. The label released just one album and two singles before folding. In 1978, Garrett produced the country-oriented soundtrack of Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way but Loose, which appeared on Garrett's latter-day label, Viva Records.

In 1976, when home video was in its infancy, Garrett bought cassette rights to the old RKO, Republic and Hal Roach (Laurel and Hardy) films for what United Press International termed "a pittance." By 1980, the 800-title library of his company The 
Nostalgia Merchant was earning $2.3 million a year. "Nobody wanted cassettes four years ago ... It wasn't the first time people called me crazy. It was a hobby with me which became big business", Garrett told UPI.

Garrett lived in Bell Canyon, California in a ranch built for himself. He was was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, a month before he died of cancer at his ranch on December 16, 2015, at the age of 77

(Edited from Wikipedia & NY Times)