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Teddy Pendergrass

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Bio

Teddy Pendergrass started singing gospel music in Philadelphia churches, becoming an ordained minister at ten years old. While attending public school, he sang in the citywide McIntyre Elementary School Choir and in the All-City Stetson Junior High School Choir. A self-taught drummer, Pendergrass had a teen pop vocal group when he was 15. By his late teens, Pendergrass was a drummer for local vocal group the Cadillacs. In the late '60s, the Cadillacs merged with another more established group, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. In 1970, when the Blue Notes broke up, Melvin, now aware of Pendergrass' vocal prowess, asked him to take the lead singer spot. It's no secret that Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff wanted Marvin Junior of the Dells for their Philadelphia International Records roster. Since the Dells were signed to Chess, they were unavailable. When the gruff'n'ready vocals of Pendergrass came their way, they eagerly signed the group. Beginning with "I Miss You," a steady stream of hit singles flowed from the collaboration of Pendergrass and Gamble & Huff: "If You Don't Know Me by Now," "The Love I Lost," "Bad Luck," "Wake Up Everybody" (number one R&B for two weeks in 1976), and two gold albums, To Be True and Wake Up Everybody. Unfortunately, the more success the group had, the more friction developed between Melvin and Pendergrass. Despite the revised billing of the group, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Theodore Pendergrass, Pendergrass felt that he wasn't getting enough recognition. Around 1976, Pendergrass left Melvin's Blue Notes and formed his own Blue Notes, featuring Teddy Pendergrass. Briefly, there was some confusion as to which Blue Notes were which. The resolution came when Pendergrass disbanded his Blue Notes in favor of a solo career and Melvin's group signed a recording contract with Source Records, distributed through ABC Records, scoring a hit with "I Want to Be Your Lover." Pendergrass signed a new contract with Philadelphia International Records in late 1976/early 1977. He burst back on the scene with Teddy Pendergrass, a platinum solo debut that included the top-notch singles "I Don't Love You Anymore," "You Can't Hide from Yourself," and "The More I Get the More I Want." Around this time, Pendergrass began to institute his infamous "Ladies Only" concerts. His next three albums went gold or platinum: Life Is a Song Worth Singing (1978), Teddy (1979), and Teddy Live (Coast to Coast). The hit single "Close the Door" was used in the film Soup for One, where Pendergrass had a small role. The singer received several Grammy nominations during 1977 and 1978, Billboard's 1977 Pop Album New Artist Award, an American Music Award for best R&B performer of 1978, and awards from Ebony magazine and the NAACP. He was also in consideration for the lead in the movie biopic The Otis Redding Story. The '70s ended, but Pendergrass kept racking up the hits. TP, his fifth solo album, went platinum in the summer of 1980 off the singles "Turn Off the Lights," "Come Go with Me," "Shout and Scream," "It's You I Love," and "Can't We Try." It's Time for Love gave Pendergrass another gold album in summer 1981, which included the hit singles "Love TKO" and "I Can't Live Without Your Love." A 1982 car accident left Pendergrass paralyzed from the waist down and wheelchair-bound. After almost a year of physical therapy and counseling, Pendergrass returned to the recording scene, signing a contract with Elektra/Asylum in 1983. His ninth solo album and Elektra/Asylum debut, Love Language went gold the spring of 1984. Philadelphia International issued two albums of unreleased tracks, This One's for You (1982) and Heaven Only Knows (1983). Other albums included Workin' It Back (1985), Joy (1988, whose title track went to number one R&B for two weeks), and Little More Magic (1993). The latter half of the '90s found Pendergrass recording for the Surefire/Wind Up label. Truly Blessed, the name of an 1991 Elektra album, is also the title of the autobiography Pendergrass co-authored with Patricia Romanowski. Apart from an appearance at a 2007 ceremony held in his honor, Pendergrass spent his later years away from the spotlight. He had difficulty recovering from colon cancer surgery and passed away on January 13, 2010. ~ Ed Hogan
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Albums by
Teddy Pendergrass

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    13 songs

    On Air

    Teddy Pendergrass

    12 songs

    On Air

    Duets - Love & Soul

    22 songs

    On Air

    Love Collection

    12 songs

    On Air

    A Little More Magic

    11 songs

    On Air

    Truly Blessed

    9 songs

    On Air

    10 Tops: Teddy Pendergrass

    9 songs

    On Air

    Life Is a Song Worth Singing [Total Soul Classics]

    8 songs

    On Air

    Teddy Pendergrass [Total Soul Classics]

    8 songs

    On Air

    Workin' It Back

    8 songs

    On Air

    Teddy Pendergrass

    8 songs

    On Air

    Teddy

    7 songs

    On Air

    Life Is a Song Worth Singing

    8 songs

    On Air

    TP

    8 songs

    On Air

    Joy

    8 songs

    On Air

    Love Language

    8 songs

    On Air

    It's Time for Love

    24 songs

    On Air

    Soulbox

    1 song

    On Air

    Ebony Moments with Teddy Pendergrass

    2 songs

    On Air

    Hold Me / Love [Digital 45]

    1 song

    On Air

    Love TKO (Re-Recorded / Remastered)

    8 songs

    On Air

    This One's for You

    28 songs

    On Air

    The Essential Teddy Pendergrass

    15 songs

    On Air

    Love TKO: The Very Best of Teddy Pendergrass

    18 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits: Love TKO

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Teddy Pendergrass

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   If You Don't Know Me by Now
  3.   Love T.K.O.
  4.   Close the Door
  5.   You're My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration
  6.   Turn Off the Lights
  7.   I Don't Love You Anymore
  8.   Come Go with Me
  9.   When Somebody Loves You Back
  10.   The More I Get, The More I Want by John Morales
  11.   Feel the Fire
  12.   Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose
  13.   The Whole Town's Laughing at Me
  14.   Hold Me by Whitney Houston
  15.   It Don't Hurt Now
  16.   Is It Still Good to Ya?
  17.   Life Is a Song Worth Singing
  18.   And If I Had
  19.   Don't Leave Me This Way
  20.   I Miss You
  21.   Only You
  22.   Joy
  23.   You're My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration by The Stylistics
  24.   L.A. Rap/Come Go With Me/Close The Door/Turn Off The Lights/Do Me
  25.   You're My Choice Tonight (Choose Me)
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Teddy Pendergrass

    On Air

    Smooth Jams

    On Air

    Classic Soul

    On Air

    Whitney Houston Tribute

    On Air

    Funk

    On Air

    Funk Classics

    On Air

    His & Hers Radio

    On Air

    Smooth Jazz

    On Air

    Sam Smith: DNA

    On Air

    Adult R&B

    On Air

    Old School R&B