Saturday, January 16, 2010

Teddy Pendergrass

One of the great R&B singers of our generation died this past week. Teddy Pendergrass, who rose to fame as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and then as a solo artist, died on January 13 after colon cancer surgery.

Pendergrass was one of the most soulful voices of the past 40 years. The hit, "If You Don't Know Me By Now," sold more then two million copies. It wasn't long after that hit, though, before he and Melvin clashed and Pendergrass struck out on his own in 1977.

As a solo artist, Pendergrass had hits like "I Don't Love You Anymore" and "Close the Door." However, the song "Love TKO" is perhaps the song most identified with Pendergrass--it is one of the most heartfelt, love break-up performances ever.

Pendergrass, one of a long line of Philadelphia R&B hitmakers, had a severe automobile accident in his hometown in 1982. The wreck left Pendergrass paralyzed from the waist down.

After his recovery, Pendergrass continued to perform but never achieved the level of success enjoyed in the 1970s and early 1980s. As a result of his injury, Pendergrass founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a non-profit organization devoted to helping those with spinal cord injuries.

Rest in peace, Teddy Pendergrass--one of my favorite R&B performers ever.

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