Her duets with Marvin Gaye became instant soul classics, and her tragic death from brain cancer just shy of her 25th birthday helped to cement her status as a musical icon. Her mother was an unsuccessful actress; her father owned a popular barber shop. She experienced severe migraine headaches as a child — an unfortunate harbinger of things to come. Terrell was discovered at age 15 by singer-songwriter-producer Luther Dixon . When the singles went nowhere, Terrell decided to go to college, where she majored in pre-med.
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An event which foretold of tragedy in soul music history took place on October 14, In July, the song spent two weeks at No. It had three weeks at No. She fell on stage and collapsed into his arms, and was rushed to a nearby hospital with what was first diagnosed as exhaustion. When doctors conducted further tests on the Philadelphia-born singer, they found that, at just 22, she had a malignant tumour on the right side of her brain. Marvin continued on the road, with Maxine Brown filling in at a residency the following week at the famed Apollo Theatre in New York. She underwent a seemingly endless series of operations, and died in March , some six weeks before she would have turned
During the final concert tour of his life, Marvin Gaye is about to perform several songs he made universally popular with the late Tammi Terrell, fifteen years earlier. Together, Marvin and Tammi were the sweet songbirds of Motown. Born Thomasina Montgomery on April 29, , in Philadephia, Tammi learned to sing and play the piano as a youngster, performing on TV and coming to the attention of Scepter Records, home of the Shirelles and Chuck Jackson.