is an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...
singer. She is best known for duet
A duet is a musical composition for two performers. In classical music, the term is most often used for a composition for two singers or pianists; with other instruments, the word duo is also often used. A piece performed by two pianists performing together on the same piano is referred to as...
hit recordings in the 1960s with country music singer George Jones
George Glenn Jones is an American country music singer known for his long list of hit records, his distinctive voice and phrasing, and his marriage to Tammy Wynette....
In the 1970s, Montgomery was a successful solo artist
In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung by a single performer...
in her own right. Her best-known solo hit is the No. 1 hit, "No Charge
"No Charge" is a country music song, written by songwriter Harlan Howard, and made famous by country singer Melba Montgomery in 1974.-About the song:...
Born October 14, 1938, in Iron City, Tennessee, and raised in Florence, Alabama
Florence is the county seat of Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States, in the northwestern corner of the state.According to the 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the city's population was 36,721....
, 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
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, that has presented the biggest stars of that genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in history since its beginnings as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM-AM...
With the help of Acuff, Montgomery gained a recording contract with United Artists Records
United Artists Records was a record label founded by Max E. Youngstein of United Artists in 1957 initially to distribute records of its movie soundtracks, though it soon branched out into recording music of a number of different genres.-History:...
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 between. In 1964, Montgomery's first-ever solo debut, America's #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
Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.This 60-position chart lists the most popular country music songs, calculated weekly mostly by airplay and occasionally commercial sales...
. 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
Eugene Francis Alan Pitney, known as Gene Pitney , was an American singer-songwriter, musician and sound engineer. Through the mid-1960s, he enjoyed success as a recording artist on both sides of the Atlantic and was among the group of early 1960s American acts who continued to enjoy hits after the...
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 from the duo, 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
Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived by Atlantic in 2009....
, 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
-Career:As a girl, Merrilee studied classical piano for 10 years. In 1960, Rush auditioned for a band, directed by her first husband, that played sock hops. Next, she was part of Merrilee and Her Men, doing covers of male pop hits. Then she joined a Seattle rhythm and blues group called Tiny Tony...
's pop hit, "Angel of the Morning
"Angel of the Morning" is a popular song that has been recorded numerous times, and has been a charting hit single for several artists including Juice Newton, Merrilee Rush, Nina Simone, P.P...
" 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: Music career today
While she mainly focused on touring, Montgomery released a studio album in 1982, I Still Care
, which brought no subsequent success, followed by Do You Know Where Your Man Is
in 1992. However, Montgomery focused on other careers in the meantime. In the early '90s, Montgomery co-wrote a song for Leslie Satcher
Leslie Winn Satcher was born in 1962 in Paris, Texas. She has recorded two albums of her own and, in addition, she has co-written several singles for such artists as George Strait, Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Gretchen Wilson, Patty Loveless, and Vince Gill....
's debut album.
In June 2001, Montgomery attended the 80th birthday celebration of her friend and pioneering country-gospel vocalist Martha Carson
Martha Carson , born Irene Amburgey, was an American gospel-country music singer most popular during the 1950s.-Early life and rise to fame:Ambergay was born in Neon, Kentucky...
. The party was also attended by Kitty Wells
Ellen Muriel Deason , known professionally as Kitty Wells, is an American country music singer. Her 1952 hit recording, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star...
, Sonny James
James Loden , known professionally as Sonny James, is an American country music singer and songwriter best known for his 1957 hit, "Young Love". Dubbed the Southern Gentleman, James had 72 country and pop chart hits from 1953 to 1983, including a five-year streak of 16 straight among his 23 No. 1...
, and Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson is an American country singer and musician who achieved his greatest fame during country's "golden" honky tonk era in the 1950s and early 1960s.-Early years:...