Bob Montgomery, a songwriter, record producer, music publisher and Nashville label executive, died Thursday afternoon at 77 of Parkinson's disease. He is survived by his wife, a son, Kevin, a songwriter, and two daughters Echo Annett Garrett and Dee Dee Dawn Cooley.
Montgomery was born in May 12, 1937 Lampasas, Texas. He wrote songs with and was best friends with Buddy Holly in school. The two performed as Buddy and Bob, starting with bluegrass and later rockabilly. The two had a weekly Sunday radio show on radio station KDAV. Montgomery also co-wrote some of Holly's songs, such as "Heartbeat," "Wishing" and "Love's Made a Fool of You" and "Misty Blue. He also wrote "Back in Baby's Arms" for Patsy Cline.
Montgomery later worked as a recording engineer in the Clovis, N.M. studio of Norman Petty. He worked with artists including Holly, Waylon Jennings and Roy Orbison. Montgomery moved to Nashville in 1959 and became a staff songwriter for Acuff-Rose. The Everly Brothers, Jim Reeves and Bob Luman were among the artists covering his songs.
Montgomery formed Talmont Music, his own publishing company, in 1963. He enjoyed success with his own "Back in Baby's Arms," first sung by Patsy Cline and "Misty Blue," recorded by singers including Wilma Burgess, Eddy Arnold and Billie Joe Spears.
Montgomery sold Talmont in 1957 and soon became the head of the country division of United Artists Records. He worked with Del Reeves and Johnny Darrell, while also producing Bobby Goldsboro's biggest hit, "Honey." Montgomery and Goldsboro later formed their own publishing company, House of Gold. John Conlee's "Rose Colored Glasses" and Alabama's "Love in the First Degree" were among the songs published by House of Gold.
Montgomery later became a top-notched producer in Nashville. He produced Joe Diffie's career defining album "A Thousand Winding Roads" that propelled Diffie into a neo-traditionalist country superstar. And his hand was all over Shelby Lynne's earlier albums that helped Lynne established herself as an artist. Montgomery had also produced albums for established country artists including those of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Tammy Wynette.
Wynette last studio solo album and her penultimate album in her entire career "Heart Over Mind" was produced by Montgomery. "Heart Over Mind" was also Wynette's 52nd album for Epic Records and it reached #64 in the US country chart. Three singles were released from the Album, "Let's Call It a Day Today" which reached #57 in the US and #66 in Canada, "I'm Turning You Loose" which did not chart, and "What Goes with Blue" which reached #56 in the US (all country charts).
With his wife, he formed yet another publishing company, which had such songs as Tim McGraw's "Down on the Farm." After living in Australia for seven years, Montgomery returned to Nashville last year.