R.I.P. Teddy Pendergrass

The legendary Teddy Pendergrass died yesterday of colon cancer. Pendergrass was born in Philadelphia and he was two and a half years old when his mother discovered his singing talent. His mother worked at a supper club and he would go with her to work and see performers like Bobby Darin and Chubby Checker. It was at this time that he discovered he also had a talent for drumming but it was after seeing a Jackie Wilson performance that he knew he wanted to be a professional entertainer. In 1969 Pendergrass got a job as the drummer for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes and when the group broke up for a second time in 1970 Pendergrass became a vocalist for the group. They got a deal with Gamble and Huff’s Philly International Records in 1971 and started having hits right away with “I Miss You” and then “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” in 1972. By 1975 Teddy went solo and became immediately successful with many classic songs like “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” “Close The Door,” “Love TKO,” “Come Go With Me,” “Turn Off The Lights” and “You Can’t Hide From Yourself” and much more. He was so successful that he became the first Black male artist to have five consecutive platinum albums. His concert tours were celebrated for the spellbinding power he had over his female audience and his ability to sell out concert tickets wherever he went. His infamous car accident in 1982 that left him paralyzed did not stop him from singing. He recorded more albums and had the most post accident success with the single “Joy.” He performed at Live Aid in 1985 and toured with the gospel musical “Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God” in 1997. Pendergrass continued to perform in the 2000’s including a Valentine’s Day show at the Wiltern Theater in 2002 that became a pay-per-view special on cable. Pendergrass will be remembered for his blustery masculinity and sensuality will continue to infiltrate the dancefloor and the bedroom forever.