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Thomas “Snuff” Garrett

Birth place or City of origin: Dallas
State of origin: TX
Last known City: Sonoita
Last known State: AZ
Start/Birth date: 1938
Death/End date: 2016

Snuff Garrett, heralded by silver saddle aficionados for his revival of the floundering Bohlin Company following Ed’s passing in 1980. Snuff was born Thomas Garrett in July 5, 1938, in Dallas, Texas. With an affinity for both music and the cowboy culture, Thomas was crowned with the nickname “Snuff”, while working as a 19 year old hotshot disk jockey in Wichita Falls just as Elvis and Bill Haley and the Comets were streaking across America in the late 1950s. Snuff was an unabashed promoter with a gut feeling that rock ‘n’ roll was here to stay, developing a keen knack for recognizing what could become a hit record. He moved to Hollywood in 1958 following the death of his friend and rock icon, Buddy Holly, and by 1961 was the head of A and R at Liberty records hiring Phil Spector to produce songs for Liberty in New York City. In Los Angeles, Garrett produced songs by singers such as Johnny Burnette (You're Sixteen), Gene McDaniels (A Hundred Pounds Of Clay, Tower Of Strength), and Bobby Vee (Take Good Care Of My Baby, Run To Him, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes) gaining fame as one of the legendary producers that brought us many of the great sounds of the 60s. Remember three time Academy award winner Walter Brennen’s recitation of the Garrett produced classic Old Rivers. Garrett stayed with Liberty seven years and left with several million dollars in his pocket. “Snuff couldn’t read a note of music, but was a visionary with an ear for what worked.” Garrett produced records for the son of comedian Jerry Lewis and as a result, Gary Lewis and the Playboys had a string of chart-busters (This Diamond Ring, Everybody Loves a Clown) that sent Garrett into the stratosphere of the music business and into a mansion in Bel Air. Later, Snuff produced solos for Cher that included Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, Half Breed and Dark Lady. Considering retirement at a youthful age of 30, he just couldn't stay away from the business and returned in the 1980s composing the scores for Clint Eastwood movies (Bronco Billy, Every Which Way But Loose) and his ultimate Bohlin co-partner, Burt Reynolds’ Smokey and the Bandit II and Cannonball Run. Garrett’s success in music and other ventures enabled him to indulge his real passion of just playing cowboys with his friends and western matinee idols – Gene Autry, John Wayne, Roy Rogers. “Roy was like a father to me,” he said.

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Born Thomas Lesslie Garrett in Dallas, Texas, Snuff is a retired American record producer whose most famous work was during the 1960s and 1970s. His nickname is a play on Garrett's Snuff, a brand of snuff. At seventeen, he was a disc jockey in Lubbock, Texas, where he met Buddy Holly. Garrett also worked in radio in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he performed on-air stunts. Among Garrett's artists were Bobby Vee, Gene McDaniels, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Johnny Burnette, and later Sonny and Cher. Snuff was a staff producer at Liberty Records during the 1960s, and was responsible for hiring the now notorious, Phil Spector as a producer. Later he had his own record label, Snuff Garrett Records. Many of Garrett's hit singles came from songs by the Brill Building songwriters in New York City. His longtime assistant was future recording star Leon Russell. 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. Snuff claims to have a lifelong obsession with the cowboy myth, which he attributes to watching westerns at the local theatres on Saturday morning. Some of his closest friends included Rex Allen, and Roy Rogers (an important, father-figure to him).

 

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