Tammi Terrell

Singer Tammi Terrell joined forces with the immortal Marvin Gaye to create some of the greatest love songs ever to emerge from the 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 contests, by the age of 13 she was regularly opening club dates for acts including Gary "U.S." Bonds and Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles. In 1961, she was discovered by producer Luther Dixon and signed to Scepter. Credited as Tammy Montgomery, she made her debut with the single "If You See Bill," followed early the next year by "The Voice of Experience." After James Brown caught Terrell's live act, she was signed to his Try Me label, issuing "I Cried" in 1963 and 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.