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Tammi Terrellstage name of Thomasina Winifred Montgomery (Philadelphiaapril 29, 1945 died March 16, 1970) was an American soul singer. She recorded her greatest successes on the side of Marvin Gaye between 1967 and 1969, but died already young to the effects of a brain tumor.


[hide]*1 early life

Life Course[Edit]Edit

Early career[Edit]Edit

Tammy Montgomery grew up in Germantown (Philadelphia). [1her father Thomas Montgomery (1907-1980) had a barber shop and was also active in politics,[2her mother was actress Jennie Graham been (1917-1983).

' Tommie ', as the family called her, sang solo in the early church choir of the Jane Methodist Church[3and won a talent showas a child. As a teenager, she stood in forGary U.S. Bonds and toured around with Chubby Checker and Patti LaBelle. She was also short time member of The Sherrys, an exuberant dancing and singing r & b-pop girl group, founded by Little Joe Cook. She started after her final exam to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, but gave up after two years prefer the singing career to which they already was working on.

They had already in 1961 a first recording contract with the small label Scepter Records (later Wand Records) by Luther Dixon, where she made her debut with the doo-wopliedje written by him If You See Bill. She was also lead singer for some time of the rhythm-and-blues band Steve Gibson & The Red Caps and she performed with the famous soul singers Jerry ButlerGene Chandlerand Chuck Jackson . She was noticed by James Brown, at that time "the Godfather of Soul". On his own label Try Me Records if they record a single I Cried and she performed a year long on in his revue. She had a stormy relationship with Brown which hits fell and ending when she fled back to her parents in Philadelphia. [4]


She took in 1964 for Checker/Chess Records a duet for the first time on, If I Would Marry You with Jimmy Radcliffe. In 1965 she drew the attention of Motownproducer Harvey Fuqua. He made sure that the boss of the Tamla Motown label, his brother-in-law, her Berry Gordy Jr.signed. That gave her the pseudonym Tammi Terrell, because a shorter name commercial made more likely than Montgomery. [5[6]

As a solo singer, she had two modest hits in the United States with I Can't Believe You Love Me (1965) and Come On And See Me (1966), both written and produced by Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol. From that period date the virtually any live-recordings of her known. In doing so, gave them salient imitations of singers who regarded them as her examples, such as Ella FitzgeraldDinah WashingtonAretha Franklin and The Supremes (Baby Love). [7when the 16-year-old Stevie Wonder for her All I Do Is Think About You wrote, however, that gave Motown to Brenda Holloway. In the end, neither versions released. [8those of Terrell Holloway, who only came out in 2002, in 2005. [9]

Marvin Gaye[Edit]Edit

Motown had other plans with Tammi than a solo career. Her big success came in 1967 when she duets with Marvin Gayesinging went Motowns topzanger, also a brother-in-law of Berry Gordy. Gaye had previously singing duos formed with Mary Wells (Once Upon A Time), Grandma Heard[10(So Good To Be Loved By You) and Kim Weston (It Takes Two), but all three had the record company abruptly abandoned after quarrels over their contract. [11to link to him By fellow Motown artist Tammi Terrell Motown did, again on Fuqua's initiative, a gold handle.

They had at the end of the 1960s a series of hits with polished by gospel music , rhythm and blues-influenced songs about mutual love and marriage, which is usually by the young writers duo Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson were composed and produced . They were (anonymous) accompanied by The Funk Brothers, Motown session musicians , the fixed and the backing vocals was usually provided by Ashford & Simpson itself in combination with The Andantes and/or The Spinners. [12their first hit singles with high positions in the Billboard Hot 100 and the R & B Charts of 1967 were Ain't No Mountain High Enough[13][14andYour Precious Love.

Gaye and Terrell soon had a close rapport, artistically great results. At gigs they aroused the impression of a love couple, but their friendship is described as a kind of brother-sister relationship. Not everyone who attended their performances or some passionate songs listened to Marvin Gaye that could believe, but assured later that the game went from "two characters who loved each other as in a play or a novel". [15during the glory years with Gaye Terrell was embroiled in a turbulent love affair with David Ruffin, the lead singer of the Temptations. [16]

To promote their first joint United lp undertook Gaye and Terrell from the summer of 1967 an acclaimed tour of the United States. When the recordings were their voices often recorded separately and later merged, but now came to light just how much the confident performer Terrell could complement and inspire the potentially shy Gaye. Later he explained that he only when really noticed how big her musical and vocal talent.[15]


However, the duo were already successful performances on 14 October 1967 an abrupt end when Tammi Terrell, who for years was plagued by heavy migraine attacks , collapsed during a performance with Marvin Gaye in Hampden SydneyVirginia. The tour was interrupted and later completed by Gaye with other singing partners, Brenda Holloway, Barbara RandolphMaxine Brown[17and the later Marvelette Ann Bogan.Early 1968 was when Tammi Terrell a Astrocytoma (a malignant brain tumor) found. After recovering from her first surgery, she has by the symptoms of her illness (paralysis, limited eyesight and memory loss) can occur only once, in Chicago.

They did go back to work in the recording studio. The duo appeared in 1968 even more big hits, such as If I Could Build My Whole World Around YouAin't Nothing Like The Real Thing and you're All I Need To Get By, who were among the last shots that she still has been able to comment. Her health condition worsened so quickly that for their second album, you're All I Need emergency handles were needed. Half of the material consists of already previously recorded solo tracks by Tammi Terrell duets with Marvin Gaye's vocals added, which are made. In any case, it is Tammi's own voice on all tracks.

That is probably not the case with the third and final duets album Easy from 1969. [12according to Marvin Gaye had to songwriter Valerie Simpson the majority of Tammi's parties warming up. [15it comes to ten songs, including well-known hits as Good Lovin' Ain't EasyThe Onion Song and California Soul. Simpson, himself a talented singer, gave a creditable Terrell-imitation, but her voice was audible nasaler than that of Tammi itself.Marvin Gaye [18initially had conscientious objections and saw it as a way for Berry Gordy to make money off of Tammi's disease, but he agreed when he was assured that her right financially backed by the Motown credits to her name to connect. [19]

Valerie Simpson has categorically denied later this turn of events. [1she had the duets with Gaye Sung, but when Tammi was available again, were the final versions according to its overgedubd with the voice of Tammi itself. [4in addition, her recordings by gidsten Valerie's the music and lyrics, which she by her memory impairment could remember. [20Tammi Terrell is indeed in the spring of 1969 by Philadelphia to Detroitand flown, in wheelchair and emaciated, in the Motown studio signaled. [21Despite Simpsons story suspect many that she was too weak to provide a contribution to these ten numbers. The uncertainty about the way things are is never wholly removed. In the two remaining tracks of Easy is Tammi though to hear. On this old recordings of her solo tracks I Can't Believe You Love Me and More, More, More is the vocals of Marvin Gaye ingedubd as a part of the second album was done.

It appeared In January 1969 solo album Irresistible, that consisted of recordings that Terrell had made for Motown from 1965. To the promotion of this plate could they themselves no longer participate. Yet she tried after the sixth brain surgery to pick up the thread. [22she made plans again and has trained itself to control to get her motor skills and memory. They got engaged to the doctor Ernest Garrett. Even in late 1969 she dived on Marvin Gaye's at a concert at the Apollo Theater in New York. He broke his duet with Carla Thomas and sang with Tammi their success story you're All I Need To Get By. [4a standing ovation followed. [23it was her last appearance in public.


Around the turn of the year 1969-1970 they again had to be hospitalized for surgery, which only served to relieve the pain. [24In total she underwent eight operations in two years. Motown-owner Gordy took the medical costs, said Tammi itself in her last interview. [22after a one-and-a-half month coma Tammi Terrell died in March 1970 at the age of 24 in a hospital in Philadelphia. At the funeral ceremony in the Jane the same Methodist Church, where she had sung in the church choir, her mother wanted to allow, except none of Motown Marvin Gaye. [4he loved, for 3,000 mourners in and outside the Church, a speech against the rich backdrop of tears you're All I Need To Get By. [3]


  • Tammi Terrell is buried at Mount Lawn Cemetery in Sharon Hill,[25also the final resting place of Bessie Smith.
  • Her death was the reason for the subsequent style change at Marvin Gaye, who is very excited and showed a while withdrew from the interest. [15In 1971, he hit with the introspective What's Going On in new ways. According to some commentators is the processing process of Tammi Terrells death the real subject of this innovative album, whose themes otherwise extends beyond personal suffering. He swore never to sing duets, because he accidentally brought about his singing partners. In addition to Tammi's fate had the careers of Mary Wells and Kim Weston never recovered from the split with Motown. Yet he took Diana Ross in 1973 with the commercially successful album Diana & Marvin on. However, The cooperation in the recordings was not trouble free.
  • In the feature film Stepmom by Chris Columbus from 1998 with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon is Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin and Tammi used as story motif. [26]
  • To the Gaye/Terrell version of Ain't No Mountain High Enough from 1967 (by Ashford and Simpson refused to Dusty Springfield when it wanted to record[20and in 1970 again a hit for Diana Ross in a totally different arrangement) was in 1999 awarded the Grammy Hall Of Fame Award . [13]
  • In the novel Number One With A Bullet , a confidante of Marvin Gaye Elaine describes Ashish, a character that appears to be based strongly on Tammi Terrell. [27from this book comes the suggestion that David Ruffin would have been responsible for Terrells brain disorder by to save on her head with a hammer. The fictional story has since been adequately debunked: a brain tumor can not be caused by head injury. [4]Though it is not disputed that Ruffin and Terrell have beaten up a number of times each other significantly.


In 2005 appeared from the hand of her younger sister Joan Montgomery the biography My Sister Tommie-The Real fellow Motown artist Tammi Terrell. [1in it is described that Tammy Montgomery already as eleven-year-old was the victim of sexual violence. The trauma changed its behavior. Also by James Brown and David Ruffin, with whom she went, she would have encountered violence violent quarrels. Gene Chandler had helped her to flights from James Brown to her parents. After David Ruffin had done her a marriage proposal, she came out that he was already married and had children. During one of their crackling quarrels he had, not with a hammer but with his motorcycle helmet, hit the side of her head, but her headaches and brain tumor were according to Sara not thereby caused. Previously was a promising love affair that could have originated with Sam Cooke nipped in the bud by his sudden death in december 1964. With Marvin Gaye, who was married to the older sister of Motown boss Berry Gordy, was always Platonic Tammi's ratio remained, although they were very close together.

The book covers the course of her illness from the perspective of her family and also devotes attention to the relationships within the ' Motown-Hitsville USA' family ' in ' in Detroit. Contrary to what she had said in her last interview,[22Tammi's family had no pleasant memories of the attitude of Motown. Joan Montgomery emphasizes the positive setting to the very end of her sister, who continued to believe in its recovery, already came that also because her doctors told her everything. The latter was admitted after the appearance of the book by the brain surgeon Richard Harner, who had operated on her in the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. [4]


Cd re-releases and later compilations are not mentioned.



  • 1967: The Early Show (Wall WDM682)
  • January 1969: Irresistible (Motown M652)

With Marvin Gaye[Edit]Edit

  • August 1967: United (Tamla T277)
  • August 1968: you're All I Need (Tamla T286)
    • six of the twelve tracks were Terrell solo tracks with Gaye existing overdubs
  • September 1969: Easy (Tamla T294)
    • ten tracks are sung by Valerie Simpson, Terrell's existing two tracks are solo songs with Gaye overdubs
  • July 1970: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's Greatest Hits (Motown M5-225V1)



Tammy Montgomery
  • 1961: "If You See Bill"/"it's Mine" (Scepter 1224)
  • 1962: "Voice Of Experience"/"I Want'cha To Be True" (wall-123)
  • 1963: "If You Don't Think"/"I Cried" (Try Me 28001) # 99 US
  • 1964: "If I Would Marry You" (with Jimmy Radcliffe)/"I Want'cha To Be True" (Checker 1072)
Tammi Terrell
  • November 1965: "I Can't Believe You Love Me"/"Hold Me Oh My Darlin '" (Motown 1086) # 72 US
  • April 1966: "Come On and See Me"/"Baby Don'tcha Worry" (Motown 1095) # 80 US
  • 1967: "What A Good Man He Is"/"There Are Things" (Motown 1115)
  • 1968: "This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)"/"Just Too Much To Hope For" (Motown 1138) # 67 US

With Marvin Gaye[Edit]Edit

  • 20-04-1967: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" # 19 US/"Give A Little Love" (Tamla 54119)
  • 22-08-1967: "Your Precious Love" # 5 US/"Hold Me Oh My Darling" (Tamla 54156)
  • 28-03-1968: "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You" # 10 US/"If This World Were Mine" (Tamla 54161) # 68 US
  • 28-03-1968: "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" # 8 US/"Little Ole Boy, Little Ole Girl" (Tamla 54163)
  • 09-07-1968: "you're All I Need to Get By" # 7 US/"Two Can Have A Party" (Tamla 54169)
  • 24-09-1968: "Keep On Lovin' Me Honey" # 24 US/"You Ain't Livin' Till you're Lovin'" (Tamla 54173)
Possible Valerie Simpson, attributed to Tammi Terrell
  • 14-01-1969: "Good Lovin' Ain't Easy to Come By" # 30 US/"Satisfied Feeling" (Tamla 54179)
  • 06-11-1969: "What You Gave Me" # 49 US/"How You Gonna Keep It" (Tamla 54187)
  • 20-03-1970: "The Onion Song" # 50 US/"California Soul" # 56 US (Tamla 54192)

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