Producer and publisher Bob Montgomery, who also wrote the hit songs “Misty Blue” and “Back in Baby’s Arms,” died Thursday (Dec. 4) at his home in Kansas City, Missouri, following a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 77.
In his role as producer, he masterminded recording sessions for Mel Tillis, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Janie Fricke, Johnny Rodriguez, Freddy Weller, Bobby Goldsboro, Dobie Gray, Gary Morris, Slim Whitman, Engelbert Humperdinck, B.J. Thomas, Joe Diffie, Shelby Lynne and Razzy Bailey.
Born May 12, 1937, in Lampasas, Texas, Montgomery met Buddy Holly when they were both in junior high school in Lubbock, Texas. Soon after, the two young enthusiasts formed their own band, Buddy and Bob.
“When we started out, we were doing Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs songs,” Montgomery told reporter Spencer Leigh in a 2003 interview, “and Buddy played banjo and mandolin for a while. There were a lot of duet harmony records we liked, bluegrass stuff. We started playing in school talent shows, and we eventually had our own little radio show on KDAV (in Lubbock) through Pappy David Stone. Pappy featured local talent every Sunday afternoon, and Buddy and I ended up with our own 30-minute radio show every week.”
With Holly, Montgomery co-wrote the songs “Wishing,” “Heartbeat” and “Love’s Made a Fool of You.” They also recorded a few songs together.
Always more focused on songwriting than Holly was, Montgomery moved to Nashville in 1959 to pursue that calling.
It was first a No. 4 country hit in 1966 for Wilma Burgess, then reached No. 3 in 1967 for Eddy Arnold and No. 5 in 1976 for Billy Joe Spears. Also in 1976, Dorothy Moore turned “Misty Blue” into a No. 3 pop hit.
In the early 1960s, Montgomery formed the House of Gold music publishing company with Bobby Goldsboro. He went on to produce Goldsboro’s worldwide hit, “Honey,” which topped the pop, country and adult contemporary charts for weeks. They sold their publishing company to Warner Bros in 1983.
House of Gold published such high-profile hits as Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors” and Gary Morris’ “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
After selling House of Gold, Montgomery worked with Tree Music and from there moved on to manage A&R for CBS Records, where he signed such future chart-topping acts as Joe Diffie, Doug Stone and Collin Raye.
Montgomery is survived by his wife and publishing partner, Cathy, and a son, the recording artist Kevin Montgomery.
Funeral details have not been announced.