We remember record producer Milt Gabler, who died July 20 at the age of 90. Gabler founded America's first independent record label, Commodore Records. He was the first to record Billie Holiday's anti-lynching song, Strange Fruit, after major record companies refused. He was also the first to pair Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Later, he produced records for Bill Haley and the Comets, Peggy Lee, the Weavers, the Ink Spots and many others. His record store Commodore Music was legendary and a hangout for musicians and music lovers.
Memphis music producer and musician Willie Mitchell started his career as a bandleader in the 1950s before working his way up to the highest courts of Memphis soul. Over the course of his rise, he released a number of solo records and produced hits that helped to define how we think of soul today.
Tate made a string of hits in the '60s, but then disappeared from public view for more than 30 years. In 2003, he joined record producer Jerry Ragovoy on Fresh Air for a conversation about their collaborations.
This interview was originally broadcast on October 27, 2003.