Monday, 28 April 2014

Birthday remembrance to Tammi Terrell

Birthday remembrance to Tammi Terrell 
(born Thomasina Winifred Montgomery- April 29, 1945 – March 16, 1970). Tammi spent nearly two years as a member of James Brown's Revue, recording for Brown's Try Me label, recording the song "I Cried". She signed with Motown records in 1965, she was spotted by Motown CEO Berry Gordy, during a performance at the Twenty Grand Club in Detroit. Gordy suggested a name change. Figuring "Tammy Montgomery" was too long of a name to put on a single, Gordy changed it to "Tammi Terrell". He felt this name screamed "sex appeal". "I Can't Believe You Love Me" became Terrell's first US R&B/Soul top forty single, followed almost immediately by "Come On and See Me". In 1966, Terrell recorded two future classics, Stevie Wonder's "All I Do (Is Think About You)" (which were not released until fairly recently) and The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)".
In early 1967, Motown hired Terrell to sing duets with Marvin Gaye, who had achieved duet success with Mary Wells and Kim Weston. This was perfection, like a duet marriage that you could feel the love coming from the songs they recorded together, but at first the duets were recorded separately. The sessions of their first recording, the Ashford & Simpson composition, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", both Gaye and Terrell recorded separate versions. Motown remixed the vocals and edited out the background vocals, giving just Gaye and Terrell vocal dominance. The song became a crossover pop hit in 1967, "Your Precious Love" became a US follow up hit in 1967, along with, "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You", "If This World Were Mine" 1968, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", "You're All I Need to Get By" & "You Ain't Livin' till You're Lovin'" (UK top 20). Migraines and headaches that she suffered with as a child were becoming more constant. While she complained of pains, she insisted to people close to her that she was well enough to perform. However, on October 14, 1967, while performing with Gaye at Hampden-Sydney College, just outside the town of Farmville, Virginia, Terrell fell and buckled onstage; Gaye quickly responded by grabbing her by the arms and helping her offstage. Shortly after returning from Virginia, doctors diagnosed a malignant tumor on the right side of her brain. Terrell made her final public appearance at the Apollo Theater where Marvin Gaye was headlining the bill in 1969. "The Onion Song" featured, Valerie Simpson as a guide vocal. In David Ritz's biography of Gaye, Divided Soul, Gaye alleged that Simpson sung on the record because Terrell was "too ill to record". Terrell was in the studio, it was claimed, but was using a wheelchair. By early 1970 Terrell was confined to a wheelchair, suffered from blindness and hair loss, and weighed a scant 93 lb. Following her eighth and final operation on January 25, 1970, Terrell went into a coma for the remaining month and a half of her life. On March 16, Terrell died of complications from brain cancer. She passed six weeks short of her 25th birthday. Gone Too Soon for sure, her music will live forever & she will always be in our heart.
GARY Van den Bussche 

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