Tammi Terrell


About Tammi Terrell

If life was a movie, Tammi Terrell would have been cast as the quintessential best friend: a smart, stylish, humble gal who seemed to have it all figured out. Born Thomasina Montgomery in Philadelphia in 1945, she had a sophisticated and husky voice even at 15, when she signed with Scepter, home of girl groups and Dionne Warwick. But things really got rolling when she joined The James Brown Revue and cut a few singles that showcased her modern sensibility and hinted at what was to come. After parting ways with Brown, Terrell signed with Motown at the age of 20 and finally stepped into her own as the likeable go-getter listeners instinctively cheered for. Then came a flurry of knockout duets with Marvin Gaye ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "You're All I Need to Get By," and other smart love songs penned by the Ashford & Simpson team). A pop stylist finding her way in the big city, Terrell seemed poised to become the next Motown phenomenon when she collapsed in Gaye's arms onstage. She never fully recovered from a brain tumor and died in 1970, but not before releasing Irresistible, a 1969 solo album that alluded to what might have been with shimmering, emotionally complex songs like "I Can't Believe You Love Me."

Philadelphia, PA, United States
April 29, 1945

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