Little-Known Facts About Black History, Culture, Inventions, and More!

Home News/ Blog Museums Organizations About Us Contact Us

What Ever Happened to Tammi Terrell?

Tammi Terrell

Thomasina Winifred Montgomery, best known as Tammi Terrell, was a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960s. She was born on April 29, 1945 in Philadelphia. From an early age, she struggled with various problems in life. Her mother was mentally ill, and she was raped at the age of 11. At an early age, she also started to suffer from migraine headaches.
However, in 1965 her career as a singer began to take off when she caught the attention of Motown Record's founder and CEO Berry Gordy. He signed her and she later released her first R&B top 40 single called "I Can't Believe You Love Me". That song was followed almost immediately by the success of "Come On and See Me".

In early 1967, Motown hired Terrell to start singing duets with Marvin Gaye. Their first song together, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," became a major crossover pop hit that same year reaching No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the R&B charts.

Terrell was finally being established as an international superstar, but her migraines and headaches were becoming more frequent and more intense. Doctors later diagnosed her with a malignant tumor on the right side of her brain. After recovering from her first surgery, Terrell returned to Hitsville and achieved more success with Marvin Gaye with big duet songs like "You're All I Need to Get By" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing".

But her health continued to decline, and eventually she was ordered by her doctors to stop performing altogether.

Sadly, Tammi Terrell died on March 16, 1970; She was only 24-years old. At the time of her untimely death, she was confined to a wheelchair, was suffering from blindness and hair loss, and weighed only 93 pounds.