RIP Teddy Pendergrass

Watching the news this morning while getting ready for work I saw that singer Teddy Pendergrass passed away yesterday.  He was 59 years old.

Teddy Pendergrass, R&B Soul Singer, Dies at 59
By JON PARELES

Teddy Pendergrass, the Philadelphia soul singer whose husky, potent baritone was one definition of R&B seduction in the 1970s but whose career was transformed in 1982 when he was severely paralyzed in an auto accident, died on Wednesday night in Bryn Mawr, Pa. He was 59.

His death was confirmed by his publicist, Lisa Barbaris, who said Mr. Pendergrass had been treated for colon cancer since August at Bryn Mawr Hospital and had suffered many complications.

As the lead singer for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and in a solo career in which he sold millions of albums, Mr. Pendergrass brought gospel dynamics to bedroom vows in songs like “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” “The Love I Lost,” “Close the Door,” “Turn Off the Lights” and “Love T.K.O.”

His performances rose from breathy whispers to gutsy exhortations, making his voice the deeper, more aggressive counterpart to the styles of 1970s soul men like Al Green and Marvin Gaye. It was the flagship sound for Philadelphia International Records, riding lush strings and big-band disco from the producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

I just blogged about Teddy back in November.

I grabbed my Teddy Pendergrass cd and put it in my bag before I left for work.  I was listening to the Essentials cd all day at work and on the subway.

Like I mentioned in November I’ve been a long time fan of Teddy Pendergrass since his days with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.  Talk about some great music. Check out I Miss You.  It’s from the Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes cd which was their debut album.  It’s over eight minutes long and I love it.  This was one of the songs that came on during my afternoon commute home while listening to my mp3 player.

And I can’t forget If You Don’t Know Me By Now.

As I mentioned back in November one of my favorite Teddy tunes is The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me from the cd Teddy Pendergrass.  Love this album.  Check it out.

Another favorite is Close the Door from his album Life Is A Song Worth Singing.

It’s sad that we continue to lose some great musical icons.  You know, folks who could really sing.  Like Luther Vandross, James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Michael Jackson and now Teddy Pendergrass.

RIP Teddy Pendergrass.

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