Born Ezekiel Christopher Montanez "Chris Montez" grew up in Hawthorne, California, influenced by the Latino-flavored music of his community and the success of Ritchie Valens.
In 1962, he recorded the single "Let's Dance" on Monogram Records. It went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. and to #2 on the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up, "Some Kinda Fun," was a lesser hit. However, both records sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.
|Photo from Chrismontez.com|
Montez returned to the recording studio in 1965, this time at A&M Records. Montez was searching for the same rock and roll formula that would replicate the success of "Let's Dance."
During a recording session, A&M co-founder Herb Alpert - who co-produced Montez's first A&M album - suggested that Montez try a different approach: a middle of the road, soft ballad sound.
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"Call Me" - first recorded by Petula Clark - was the first single released from his 1966 A&M album, The More I See You. The title single from the album, sung in a soft, very high tenor range and played on primarily adult-formatted radio stations, confused some disc jockeys, who were unfamiliar with Montez's past work. When announcing the song, the DJs would often refer to Montez as a female. By the time the album was released, Montez's pictures on the front and back of the jacket cleared up the mistake.
Released in November 1965, "Call Me" entered the Easy Listening Top 40 in Billboard that December, entering the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1966; that March "Call Me" peaked on the Easy Listening chart at #2 and on the Hot 100 at #22.
The More I See You album yielded two additional Top 40 singles for Montez: The title cut, plus "There Will Never Be Another You."
Montez recorded three more albums for A&M: Time After Time, Foolin' Around, and Watch What Happens. None of these albums were nearly as successful as The More I See You. The title cut "Time After Time" did reach #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, but no other singles made the top 40.
Subsequent singles did not reach the top 40, or only on the Billboard Easy Listening Top 40. Following the release of Watch What Happens in 1968, Montez left A&M Records. In November 1972, Montez charted a Latin hit in Brazil: "Loco por ti (Crazy About You)."
Montez resurfaced in 1974 at CBS Records, with the release of a new LP, The Best of Chris Montez, a mix of both old and new recordings. He recorded one more album for CBS: Raza: Ay No Digas, which did well internationally, but failed to make an impact in the U.S.
His final album, with exclusively Spanish-language material, was Cartas de Amor, released on the independent label AYM in 1983.
For more about Chris, visit his Website at -