Paying Tribute to Tammi Terrell
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The Biography on Tammi Terrell
The raw, wild, and beautiful, Tammi Terrell.
Singer Tammi Terrell joined forces with the immortal Marvin Gaye to create some of the greatest love songs ever to emerge from Motown hit factory; sadly their series of classic duets-"Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", and "You're All I Need To Get By" among them-came to an abrupt and tragic halt with her premature death.
Terrell was born Thomasina Montgomery in Philadelphia on April 29, 1945, after winning a number of local talent contest, by the age of 13 she was regularly opening club dates for acts including Gary "U.S." Bonds and Patti LaBelle And the Blue Belles.
In 1961 she was discovered by producer Luther Dixon and signed to Specter/Wand Records at the age of 15 and was credited as Tammy Montgomery, she made her debut with "If IYou See Bill". After James Brown caught a live act, she was signed to his Try Me label, issuing "I Cried in 1963 also touring with his live revue; "If I Would Marry You" appeared on Checker a year later, during which time she also studied Pre-Med at the University of Pennsylvania.
While performing with Jerry Butler in Detroit in 1965, Terrel was spotted by Harvey Fuqua and was introduced to Berry Gordy Jr. making her label debut with "I can't Believe You Love Me" and other songs followed with "This Old Heart of Mine" and "Come on and See Me".
In 1967, Terrel was paired with Marvin Gaye who previously recorded with Mary Wells and Kim Weston. His chemistry with Terrell was immediate, and in 1967 they enterted the pop charts with the magnificent songs "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", and "Your Precious Love.
Later in 1967, Terrell begin to have severe migraine headaches and she collapsed in Gaye's arms while in concert at Virginia's Hampton-Sydney University, she was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Although the tumor forced Terrell to retire from performing live, she continued to record with Gaye and Her own album "Irresistible" in 1968.
In 1969, Terrell' health was begining to decline and she was unable to finish with the third duet album, Valerie Simpson sang on most of the recordings on the "Easy" album.
The way that Marvin and Tammi sang together created an aura of romance and eroticism that led to persistent rumors that they were lovers.
In All, Terrell endured eight operations, ultimately resulting in loss of memory and partial paralysis, she passed away on March 16, 1970. Her burial service attracted thousands of mourners and many of her Motown Colleagues attended.
Tammi Terrell will never be forgotten, she is a legend.