The year was 1994. Country music was exploding, and John Michael Montgomery was right up front alongside artists like Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn. John Michael’s sophomore album, “Kickin’ It Up,” was sitting on top of the charts powered by songs like “Be My Baby Tonight,” “If You’ve Got Love” and the wedding anthem of the decade “I Swear.”

As the younger of the two Montgomery boys, (his brother Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry is about 18 months his senior) he was poised to be the next superstar of country music. And for a four-year span, he pretty much was.

Nearly every concert he put on was a sell-out and every magazine cover those piercing blue eyes and dimpled cheeks graced flew off the shelves. Radio loved him, the fans loved him, and he loved them both.

“Kickin It Up” was the first of two consecutive albums to both go to No. 1 and be certified quadruple platinum for John Michael.

We haven’t heard much from JMM since his last album “Time Flies” in 2008. But just like the couples who let “I Swear” define their love as the soundtrack to their weddings, we’ll always have the music.

Based in Chicago but often in Nashville, Ken Churilla is a contributor for Rare Country. Follow him @KenChurilla and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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