Before launching a solo career in the late 1970s, Philadelphia-based Teddy introduced the world to his smooth vocals during his stint as lead singer of Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes. The group racked Philly soul hits like the Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff-produced “The Love I Lost” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (watch below)—nearly inescapable staples on Oldies radio.
Pendergrass endured tragedy at the peak of his career when he was paralyzed from the waist down after suffering spinal chord injuries incurred during a 1982 auto accident. Nevertheless, he carried on recording throughout the ’80s and ’90s.
Here’s “Hold Me,” Pendergrass’ duet with Whitney Houston, from her debut album:
“To all his fans who loved his music, thank you,” the singer’s son, Teddy Pendergrass II, said to Billboard. “He will live on through his music.”
The Washington Post has published a career-spanning slideshow of photographs of the singer.
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