at age 17, Tammi
was introduced to James Brown. She signed a contract with him and began singing backup for his Revue concert tours
as Tammy Montgomery. They became sexually involved. In 1963, Terrell
her first charting single,
“I Cried” on Brown’s Try Me label. It reached #99 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by James Brown and Bobby Byrd. Brown reused the song’s chord progression for his 1966 hit "It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Terrell’s relationship with Brown became very abusive.
One night on tour she escaped after he beat her backstage, ending their 2-year affair and their professional relationship.