Finding the words is hard……..especially when it is so new. I loved Dad very much, and it has been a difficult thing to see him pass on to the next journey. I’ll miss him. I’m fairly good with putting words to music……………but the words fail me. Luckily, my sister, Echo Montgomery Garrett, is a professional.
She has written our father’s official obituary…….and it is beautiful. For now……I will leave you with her loving tribute to our father…….as I make the journey with my boy for one last send off.
Here it is:
Music legend songwriter, producer and publisher Bob Montgomery passed away on December 4, 2014, after a struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Born in Lampasas, Texas, on May 12, 1937, Bobby LaRoy Montgomery moved to Lubbock at age 12 and became best friends with Buddy Holly, whose aunt taught them both how to play the guitar. As teens Holly and Montgomery formed a rockabilly duo called Buddy and Bob. In 1954, Elvis Presley gave two concerts in town, and the duo opened for him. When Decca Records expressed interest solely in Buddy Holly as a singer, Montgomery encouraged his friend to take the opportunity. Montgomery then concentrated on songwriting and wrote “Heartbeat,” “Love’s Made a Fool of You,” and “Wishing” for Holly and the Crickets.
In 1959, Montgomery moved to Nashville, so he could pursue a music career. He happened to rent an apartment next door to Patsy Cline, who recorded his song “Back in Baby’s Arms,” and he was signed as a writer to Acuff Rose. In 1965 Eddy Arnold had a country hit with his song “Misty Blue.” Montgomery’s songs were recorded by Roy Orbison, Cliff Richards, Herman’s Hermits and many more.
In 1968 as the A&R man for United Artists on Nashville’s famed Music Row, he produced Bobby Goldsboro’s international hit “Honey,” which sold 8 million records, along with several other crossover #1 hits on pop, adult contemporary and country charts. Montgomery served as musical director on Goldsboro’s musical variety show.
In the late 1960s, Montgomery started House of Gold Music, and in 1972 quit his A&R position to concentrate full-time on his fledgling music publishing company, working from an office in his garage. That year the company scored a major hit with its first staff writer Kenny O’Dell’s “Behind Closed Doors,” recorded by Charlie Rich. “Behind Closed Doors” earned awards for Song of the Year and Single of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM). It topped the country charts for 20 straight weeks and also was a pop crossover hit. In 2003, Country Music Television (CMT) named it #9 on its list of Top 100 Greatest Country Music Songs of All Time.
House of Gold Music became known as a hotbed of creativity for songwriters with Montgomery nurturing and advising the talented staff writers he signed. By the mid-1970s, House of Gold had moved to Music Row and over the next several years scored hits with more than 100 artists including Alabama, Dolly Parton, Dottie West, Kenny Rogers, The Judds and Juice Newton. The catalogue included the international hit “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” Montgomery had produced the demo that Gladys Knight’s producer loved so much that he used Montgomery’s tracks for Knight’s recording of the song.
In the early 1970s, Montgomery became part owner of The Sound Shop where Paul McCartney recorded Wings’ “Down on the Farm.” In 1980, McCartney invited Montgomery to his annual celebration of Buddy Holly’s life, and Montgomery performed “Heartbeat” on stage in London backed by McCartney.
In 1976 Dorothy Moore had an international hit with “Misty Blue,” which won the Robert J. Burton Award for the “Most Performed Song of the Year” and sold 4 million copies. That year Montgomery was up against Stevie Wonder for a Grammy for R&B Song of the Year. “Misty Blue” is taught as an example of the perfect R&B song at the Berklee College of Music.
From 1967 through the remainder of his music career, Montgomery produced chart-busting records on numerous artists, including Austin Roberts, Lobo, Marty Robbins, Razzy Bailey, Janie Fricke, Eddy Arnold, Waylon Jennings, Joe Diffie, Vern Gosdin, Shelby Lynne, and many others. He was recognized in the industry for his knack for choosing hits for his artists and his ear for a great story song. In 1988 Vern Gosdin’s “Chiseled in Stone” won the CMA Song of the Year and in 2003 CMT named it #70 on the list of biggest country songs of all time.
He sold House of Gold Music in 1983 to Warner Brothers and joined that company as a vice president. In 1986, Tree Publishing named him the director of creative services, and two years later he became vice president of A&R for CBS Records where he signed Collin Raye, Joe Diffie, Linda Davis and Doug Stone, among others.
Montgomery, who never learned to read music, has left behind a massive body of work that spans six decades and influenced generations across genres. Known as a prankster, the proud Texan loved hunting, fishing, playing dominoes, gardening, and telling jokes. In 1996 he was inducted into the West Texas Hall of Fame. He loved going back to the Hill Country in Texas, especially during blue bonnet season. When wife Cathy told her husband that he’d be buried near Marty Robbins, one of his favorite artists who he produced, he replied, “You got me in a good neighborhood.”
Bob Montgomery is survived by his wife Cathy Hammond Montgomery, his children (by first wife Carol Cox Montgomery): Echo Montgomery Garrett; DeeDee Montgomery Cooley; and Kevin Montgomery; and sons-in-law Kevin Garrett and Mark Cooley. In addition, Montgomery leaves behind grandsons Caleb and Connor Garrett; Dillon, Chase and Declan Cooley; and Beau Montgomery. Montgomery was preceded in death by infant granddaughter Ava Montgomery, and his parents Royce Marshall “Cotton” Montgomery and Dorothy Dimple Sewell Montgomery Upton and stepfather A.O. Upton. Additional survivors include numerous nieces and nephews.
The visitation is scheduled for Monday, December 8, 2014, 5-8 pm at Woodlawn Funeral Home in Nashville, Tennessee. The funeral, which will be a celebration of Montgomery’s life and career, will take place at 2 pm – his favorite session time — at Woodlawn on December 9.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in his memory to the W.O. Smith Music School (http://www.wosmith.org/) in Nashville, a long-time favorite charity of Montgomery and wife Cathy that serves impoverished children with a talent for music, or to the National Parkinson Foundation (Parkinson.org).
I’ll leave you with this……..”the whole world turned misty blue”………..