John Thomas Slate, AKA “Johnny Slate,” age 77 of Madison, TN, passed away on July 24, 2015, after a battle with cancer and other complications.
Born in Clarksville, TN, and eventually settling in the Nashville area, Slate was a music industry veteran with a career spanning more than forty years as a songwriter, publisher, producer, and manager.
Johnny’s writing career included terms with Pamper Music, Green Grass Publishing, Tree International, Windchime Productions, House of Gold, Warner Brothers, and API’s Songwriters Ink. His songs have been recorded by such stars as Roger Miller, Larry Gatlin, Joe Diffie, Razzy Bailey, Del Reeves, Ringo Starr, The Carter Family and Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Billie Jo Spears, Jean Shepherd, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Hilljack, Ron Williams, Daliah Lavi, Charlie Rich, Eddy Arnold, Delbert McClinton, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, John Denver, Janie Fricke, Millie Jackson, Loretta Lynn, and Exile along with numerous other domestic and international artists. Two of his most popular recordings are Kenny Rogers’, “Blaze of Glory” and Dr. Hook’s, “Better Love Next Time” among many other chart topping hits. Johnny was a Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) writer and received many BMI awards including: BMI’s Triple Play Award for having three number one songs in one year and three Million Performance Awards.
Johnny’s publishing background includes Professional Manager at Tree International and co-founding Windchime Music, Inc. and Sandstorm Music with his longtime friend Larry Henley. During his term with Windchime, he signed well-known writers such as Stevan Pippin and Larry Keith, and published hits including Player’s #1 hit, “This Time I ‘m In It For Love.” Slate opened and served as the Director of the Nashville office of Warner Brothers publishing. After working for other publishers as a staff writer, Johnny created and served as President of the hit making, Affiliated Publisher’s, Inc. (API), with friend and first-cousin Danny Morrison, and Tony Harley. API’s writers have included Joe Diffie, Drew Womack, Kerry Kurt Phillips, Stevan Pippin, Sonny LeMaire, Ken Spooner, Michael Higgins, Steve Dukes, Andy Spooner, Howard Perdew, Jerry Laseter, Chris Lyndsey, Wyatt Easterling, and Stacey Slate among numerous others.
While working as Professional Manager at Tree Publishing, Slate started honing his production skills by producing demos. With the company he and Larry Henley started, Windchime Productions, Inc., Slate produced records for United Artists, Epic and Capricorn Records, including Henley, Molly Ridgeway, Tom McKeon, Jeffery Comanor, and Fallenrock among others. Later, under his own company, Johnny Slate productions, Johnny produced albums for acts such as Joe Diffie, Sons of the Desert, and Ron Williams.
Slate’s management career included opening and serving as President of IMAGE Mgmt. where he and his partners managed country stars Joe Diffie, Tim McGraw, Sons of the Desert, and Ty Herndon among several other independent artists.
Slate was even an author, penning a little book on songwriting with Danny Morrison (co-writer of “Blaze of Glory” and many other songs) titled “Song Writing From The Inside/Out” published by Applewood Books.
Johnny was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Elizabeth Slate; siblings, Rolene Pake and Ralph. He is survived by his children, Stacey (Jamie Hall), Stephen (Shannon), Stephanie (Jody Galbreath), Jenny (Jonny Lee) and David; his sister, Dorothy (Jim Holeman); eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at 4 P.M., Monday, August 3, 2015, at Hendersonville First United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends from 2 P.M. until the time of service and immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to MusiCares at grammy.org/musicares/donate.
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