Music

Chart Rewind: In 1994, John Michael Montgomery’s ‘I Swear’ Soared to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs

On Feb. 5, 1994, John Michael Montgomery began a career-best four-week domination on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart with “I Swear.” The ballad marked his second of seven No. 1s on the ranking.

Authored by Gary Baker and Frank J. Myers, the love song also became a smash for pop/R&B vocal outfit All-4-One, whose version ruled the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 for 11 frames beginning that May.

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For Montgomery, “I Swear” was released as the lead single from his album Kickin’ It Up, the first of his two No. 1s on Top Country Albums. The set also arrived atop the Billboard 200, becoming his lone chart-topper, and produced two other Hot Country Songs leaders: “Be My Baby Tonight” and “If You’ve Got Love.”

Montgomery was born Jan. 20, 1965, in Danville, Ky. His musically inclined family includes older brother Eddie Montgomery, who became half of the duo Montgomery Gentry (with Troy Gentry), and son Walker Montgomery, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut in December.

John Michael Montgomery boasts 20 Hot Country Songs top 10s, from “Life’s a Dance” (No. 4 peak, 1993) through “Letters From Home” (No. 2, 2004). He last led with “The Little Girl” in 2000.

Notably, Montgomery’s fifth Hot Country Songs No. 1, “I Can Love You Like That,” likewise became a hit for All-4-One. After his version topped Hot Country Songs for three weeks beginning in April 1995, All-4-One’s rose to No. 5 on the Hot 100 that August. (Both acts were signed to Atlantic Records at the time.)

Now 59, Montgomery is one of many venerable country hitmakers that have recently announced retirement tours. Among others: Lee Greenwood, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Ray Stevens and Doug Stone.

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