Obituaries: Jack D. Johnson, Dan Martin, Andy Palacio, Carlos Nieto and Beto Carrero

Jack D. Johnson, 79, who managed the careers of Charley Pride, Ronnie Milsap, T.G. Sheppard and other singers, died Jan. 24,2008, after battling congestive heart failure.

Named for the prize fighter Jack Dempsey, Johnson was born in Knoxville and spent most of his youth in east Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in journalism in 1958. He and his wife, Edie, moved to Nashville in 1961 and he founded Jack D. Johnson Talent a few years later.

He pitched Pride’s music to labels and producers to no real effect until, finally, Cowboy Jack Clement agreed to produce Pride’s early records. With Johnson’s business direction, Pride became one of country music’s biggest stars.

Milsap signed with Johnson in 1973 and also became a major star. In 1975, Johnson won the Country Music Association’s Producer of the Year award for his co-production of Milsap’s records.

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Dan Martin, a guitar vendor whose clientele included Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Eddie Van Halen, died Dec. 21, 2007, in St. Charles, Mo. He was 57.

Martin developed what friends called an ability to find the perfect instruments for some of the world’s most famed guitarists. He operated two guitar shops and made frequent trips to New York and Los Angeles.

Starting in high school, Martin would work on guitars in the family basement. Martin later worked as a roadie with the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and the Band, Foghat, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stevie Wonder and more. It was during that time that he bought and sold guitars, making the contacts that led to his first shop.

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Andy Palacio, one of Belize’s most popular punta rock musicians and a UNESCO “Artist for Peace,’’ died Jan. 1, 2008, of a stroke. He was 47.

Best known for his album Watina, Palacio began composing as a teacher in the early 1980s, and went on to produce five “punta rock’’ albums, blending traditional folk rhythms with modern rock instruments. He was known for his defense of the Garifuna people.

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Singer Carlos Nieto, 63, who emerged in the 1960s heyday of Argentine folk music and recorded more than 600 songs in a career spanning decades, died Jan. 31, 2008, in Buenos Aires, after battling cancer, his family said.

Nieto was a composer who wrote his own material and songs later interpreted by Mercedes Sosa and other celebrated artists.

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Beto Carrero, a former country singer who built what is billed as Latin America’s biggest theme park, died Feb. 1, 2008, at Sirio Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was 70.

Carrero, born into a poor family in the southeastern city of Sao Jose do Rio Preto and worked as a country musician, radio announcer and ad salesman before starting an advertising agency and, eventually, his theme park.

Beto Carrero World, which includes an amusement park and a zoo with 700 animals, opened in 1991 in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

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