Chris Montez (born Ezekiel Christopher Montanez, January 17, 1943, Los Angeles, California), is a Mexican American singer.
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.
Although Montez toured with Clyde McPhatter, Sam Cooke, The Platters, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, there were no more hits for Montez until four years later. This was despite The Beatles opening a London concert for him while performing with Tommy Roe. It was once speculated that John Lennon started a fight with Montez at a London bar and poured a beer over Montez' head.
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. Though reluctant at first, Montez agreed to go along with his mentor's suggestion.
"Call Me" (a Tony Hatch composition) 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. But by the time the album was released, Montez' pictures on the front and back of the jacket cleared up any mystery surrounding his gender, as explained in the album's notes on the back of the record jacket.
The More I See You album yielded three Top 40 singles for Montez: The title cut, plus "Call Me" and "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 mirrored the success of 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 hit below 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.
Montez 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.
Most of his American appearances in 2007 were in Branson, Missouri.
In July, 2008, Frozen Pictures announced plans to produce a documentary musical film on Montez's life and career. "'Chris Montez is an incredibly influential musician whose life and music have touched on every major thread in rock ?n' roll, from Latino rock to R&B, Sixties pop to lounge, surf to punk,' said Burt Kearns, who writes, produces or directs all of Frozen's projects with Brett Hudson. 'His story is epic.'
As of 2009, Chris Montez continues to perform throughout the U.S. and Internationally.
"Let's Dance" (1962) #4 U.S., #2 UK
"Some Kinda Fun" (1962) #43 U.S.
"Call Me" (1966) #22 U.S., #2 U.S. AC
"The More I See You" (1966) #16 U.S., #2 U.S. AC
"There Will Never Be Another You" (1966) #33 U.S., #4 U.S. AC
"Time After Time" (1966) #36 U.S., #12 U.S. AC
"Because of You" (1967) #71 U.S., #25 U.S. AC
"The Face I Love" (1968) #15 U.S. AC
"Love Is Here To Stay" (1968) #38 U.S. AC