Friday, January 15, 2010

Death of a Legend

Teddy Pendergrass, one of the most distinctive R&B singers of the 1970s, died Wednesday in suburban Philadelphia, eight months after surgery for colon cancer. He was 59. The singer who rose to fame in the 1970s had a melodious voice that enthralled music lovers for decades. Pendergrass' voice was raw and gravelly, but not in the way that hurt. It was in a way you wanted to touch, especially if you were one of the legions of screaming female fans who flocked to his shows. Especially during his now famous "ladies only" nights.

The singer was nominated for the coveted Grammy awards no less than 5 times in his life. His solo albums were best sellers but his duets with stalwarts like Whitney Houston and Stephanie Mills also received good reviews from critics and listeners alike. He had a lively nature and despite several adversities in his life he never withdrew into a shell. For example an auto accident in 1982, at peak of his career, left him partially paralyzed but that didn't stop him from performing.

The lovers of old school soulful R&B, like myself, are mourning his loss this week and remembering such hits as "Love TKO", "Your My Latest, Greatest Inspiration" and this one which is probably his most recognizable. This was recorded while he sang lead vocals in the group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, "If You Don't Know Me By Now". RIP Teddy the world just lost one of the greatest voices. You will be missed.

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