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Melba Montgomery in 1967
|Birth name||Melba Montgomery|
October 14, 1938 |
Iron City, Tennessee
|Origin||Florence, Alabama, United States|
|Years active||1963 – present|
|Labels||United Artists Records
|Associated acts||George Jones, Charlie Louvin, Gene Pitney|
Born October 14, 1938, in Iron City, Tennessee, and raised in Florence, Alabama, Montgomery gained her first exposure to music through her father, a fiddler and guitarist who taught vocal lessons at the town's Methodist church. She started playing guitar at the age of ten. Music became a very important part of Montgomery's life and she soon had serious dreams about achieving success in the country music industry.
Rise to fame
At age 20, she and her brother won an amateur talent contest held at Nashville radio station WSM's Studio C, which then housed the Grand Ole Opry.
Montgomery gained a recording contract with United Artists Records in 1962 with the help of Roy Acuff.
Country music career
1963 – 1972: Duet artist career
Montgomery went solo in 1962. She wrote "We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds", which she sang with George Jones. The song spent over thirty weeks on the Billboard Country chart, and peaked at No. 3 by 1963. It became the duo's best-known song together. The single's success brought a successful duet album with Jones as well (What's in Our Hearts), which released two other Top 20 hit singles, "Let's Invite Them Over" and "What's in Our Hearts".
After finding success as a duet artist, Montgomery found the time to release a solo album. In 1964, Montgomery's first-ever solo debut, America's No. 1 Country and Western Girl Singer. The album brought about a top 25 hit for Montgomery, "The Greatest One of All", which peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Country Chart. For the rest of the decade, Montgomery had a few other minor solo hits, none of which made the country top 40.
Jones continued to duet with Montgomery. However, in 1966, Montgomery was partnered with Gene Pitney for a duet album, Being Together, which spawned a top 15 hit, "Baby, Ain't That Fine".
Although they parted ways, singles continued to be released by the duo of Jones and Montgomery, including "Did You Ever," which reached the top 30, followed by the minor hits "Baby, What's Wrong With Us" and "A Man Likes Things Like That", which were released only as singles in 1972.
1973 – 1980: Solo career
In 1973, Montgomery switched to Elektra Records, where she focused more on a solo career. Off her debut album off the label, Montgomery had a top 40 hit single, "Wrap Your Love Around Me," her first solo single to reach this far on the country charts in nearly ten years. Released in 1974, "No Charge" became a No. 1 country hit on the Billboard country chart, as well as top 40 hit on the Billboard pop chart. The song and the album became successful, and Montgomery's only top 10 hit as a solo artist.
The title track off of Montgomery's follow-up album, Don't Let the Good Times Fool You reached the top 15 in 1975, the only top 40 hit from the album. Subsequent singles also released from the album, "Searchin' (For Someone Like You)" and "Your Pretty Roses Come too Late" did not bring much success. However, in 1977, under United Artists, Montgomery released a self-titled album, and a cover version of Merrilee Rush's pop hit, "Angel of the Morning" that reached the top 25. The single was Montgomery's last major country hit.
In 1986, Montgomery released her last single, "Straight Talkin'", which peaked at No. 78.
1981 – present: songwriting
Within the past 20 to 30 years, Montgomery has focused her career on songwriting. She has written songs for such artists as George Strait, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, George Jones, Patty Loveless, Travis Tritt, Tracy Byrd, Terri Clark, John Prine, Jim Lauderdale, Sara Evans, Eddy Arnold, Connie Smith, Leon Russell, J.D. Souther, Rhonda Vincent, and many more.
She co-wrote George Strait's top five single "What Do You Say To That" with Jim Lauderdale. Montgomery has written many of her songs with various co-writers such as Jim Collins, Leslie Satcher, Jerry Salley, Steve Leslie, Jim Lauderdale, Verlon Thompson, J. D. Souther, Stephony Smith, Bill Anderson, Jennifer Kimball, Kathy Louvin, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Larry Shell, Buddy Cannon, Jim "Moose" Brown, Tommy Polk, Kim Richey, Al Anderson, Clint Daniels, Tommy Karlas, Tommy Collins, and brothers Earl "Peanut" Montgomery and Carl Montgomery.