In the middle of this, Terrell was asked by Jerry Butler to sing with him in a series of shows in nightclubs.After an arrangement was made by Butler to assure Terrell that she could continue her schooling, she began touring with Butler.Motown issued Terrell's first and only solo album, Irresistible, in early 1969. There was no new repertoire on the album: all tracks had been recorded earlier and had subsequently been shelved for some time.Both Marvin Gaye and Valerie Simpson gave different stories on how the production of Terrell's and Gaye's third album together, Easy, went about.Motown remixed the vocals and edited out the background vocals, giving just Gaye and Terrell vocal dominance. Their follow-up, "Your Precious Love", became an even bigger hit, reaching No. The duo also performed together on television shows to their hits.The song became a crossover pop hit in the spring of 1967, reaching No. While Terrell was finally being established as a star, the migraines and headaches she had suffered from childhood were becoming more constant.After a period attending college, Terrell recorded briefly for Checker Records, before signing with Motown in 1965.With Gaye, Terrell scored seven Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By".
Figuring "Tammy Montgomery" was too long of a name to put on a single, Gordy changed it to "Tammi Terrell". "I Can't Believe You Love Me" became Terrell's first R&B top forty single, followed almost immediately by "Come On and See Me".Terrell's career was interrupted when she collapsed into Gaye's arms as the two performed at a concert at Hampden–Sydney College on October 14, 1967, with Terrell later being diagnosed with a brain tumor.She had eight unsuccessful surgeries before succumbing to the illness on March 16, 1970 at the age of 24.One night on the road Tammi left him after getting mercilessly beaten for not watching his entire performance.Bobby Bennett, former member of the Famous Flames witnessed the abuse, "He beat Tammi Terrell terrible," says Bennett.In early 1967, Motown hired Terrell to sing duets with Marvin Gaye, who had achieved duet success with Mary Wells and Kim Weston as well as having recorded duets with Oma Heard. The song's B-side, the Marvin Gaye composition "If This World Were Mine", became a modest hit on both charts (No. All four songs were included on Gaye and Terrell's first duet album, United, released in the late summer of 1967.During recording sessions, Gaye would recall later that he did not know how gifted Terrell was until they began singing together. For sessions of their first recording, the Ashford & Simpson composition, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", both Gaye and Terrell recorded separate versions. At the end of the year, the duo scored another top ten single with "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You", which peaked at No. Throughout that year, Gaye and Terrell began performing together and Terrell became a vocal and performance inspiration for the shy and laid-back Gaye, who hated live performing.In 1966, Terrell recorded two future classics, Stevie Wonder's "All I Do (Is Think About You)" and The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)".Terrell joined the Motortown Revue after the release of her first single."She was bleeding, shedding blood." After this tenure ended, Terrell signed with Checker Records and released the Bert Berns produced duet, "If I Would Marry You" with Jimmy Radcliffe, which Terrell co-composed.Following this relative failure, Terrell announced a semi-retirement from the music business and enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in pre-med, staying at the school for two years.