John Michael Montgomery

  • Country music singer and guitarist born in 1965 from Danville Kentucky.
  • Montgomery’s father and mother had a local country band, and John’s first public performance was at the age of 5 when he played with his parents at a show. By his teens, he was performing regularly with the family group, which also included his brother Eddie (who would go on to form the duo Montgomery Gentry). When he was 17, he became the lead vocalist for the family band, and he also performed at local honky-tonk bars. His style was true to traditional country music, which appealed to his growing fan base. He worked the Kentucky country bar scene for several years, until a record label discovered him at one of these performances, and he was signed in 1991.
  • Not a writer himself, he sifted through country songs from other writers and he worked with country session musicians to record his his debut album Life’s A Dance, released in 1992. The title track was released as a single, and it quickly found favor with country fans, peaking at #4 on the Country chart. Six months later, a second single was released – I Love the Way You Love Me. It climbed to the top of the Country chart, and the man who had never been on a plane until he was 27 had become a country phenom.
  • His follow-up album, Kickin’ It Up, made him a mega-star. Released in 1994, it reached #1 on both the country and pop album charts, and was certified 4x platinum. Three singles topped the country singles chart – I Swear, Be My Baby Tonight, and If You’ve Got Love – and a fourth single, Rope the Moon, peaked at #4.
  • The following year, the self titled John Michael Montgomery album was released. Five more singles reached the top five of the country charts, included #1 hits I Can Love You Like That and Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident). The latter was the #1 country single for the entire year. Montgomery earned two Grammy nominations for the album.
  • In late 1995, Montgomery had throat surgery. He had been singing in pain for several years. The surgery was successful, and he rested his voice for months before returning to performances and to recording.
  • Montgomery released seven more albums between 1996 and 2004. Nine more singles reached the top 10 of the country charts, with The Little Girl making it to #1 in 2000, his last of seven songs that reached the top of the chart. In 2004, Letters From Home peaked at #2, and it crossed over to become his highest charting single on the Hot 100, reaching #24.
  • After Letters From Home, Montgomery parted ways with his record label. Physical issues plagued him in future years. He had seven surgeries for problems with legs and a bad hip, and a tumor on the nerves that connect his inner ear to his brain. In late 2018, he had surgery again to remove a polyp on one of his vocal cords. In 2008, he started his own record label and released Time Flies. He continues to perform 25 shows or so a year.
  • In the 90s, if you wanted to hear a country-pop love song, odds are it was one that John Michael Montgomery sang. He stuck with his country roots which made him relatable to his music fans. And if you’ve been to a wedding lately, there’s a good chance that I Swear was the first dance for the happy couple. The cover version by R&B/Pop group All-4-One won a Grammy and was #1 on the pop chart for 11 weeks. Personally, I’d take Montgomery’s version any day. Here’s his video for I Swear.

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