Friday, 29 May 2015

Teddy Pendergrass


Teddy Pendergrass

Real Name:
Theodore "Teddy" DeReese Pendergrass, Sr.
Theodore Pendergrass (March 26, 1950—January 13, 2010), an American R&B/soul singer and songwriter, was born in Philadelphia, Pa. Pendergrass is also known as Teddy P, TP, or Teddy Bear.
Lead singer for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Following personality conflicts between Melvin and Pendergrass, Pendergrass launched his solo career and released the LP Teddy Pendergrass in 1977.
On March 18, 1982, Pendergrass was involved in an automobile accident, he suffered a spinal cord injury leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
In 2006, Pendergrass announced his retirement from the music business. In 2007, he briefly returned to performing to participate in Teddy 25: A Celebration of Life, Hope & Possibilities, a 25th anniversary awards ceremony that marked Pendergrass' accident date, but also raised money for his charity, The Teddy Pendergrass Alliance. The charity provides education and occupational opportunities to people with SCI.
Official Site:


Biography by Ed Hogan (AMG):
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 PendergrassPendergrass 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.


More on Mr. Pendergrass:
Pendergrass had three children, Tisha, LaDonna and Teddy II. In 1987, he married a former Philadanco dancer named Karen Still, who had also danced in his shows. Karen was Pendergrass' primary caregiver. The couple amicably divorced in 2003. Pendergrass met Joan Williams in the spring of 2006. Pendergrass proposed to Joan after four months and they married in a private ceremony officiated by Teddy's Pastor Allyn Waller of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008. A formal wedding was celebrated at The Ocean Cliff Resort in Newport, Rhode Island on September 6, 2008.
As members of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, Joan Pendergrass set up The Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Youth Fund in the name of Teddy Pendergrass to provide assistance and a center for Philadelphia's inner city youth.
He published his autobiography, Truly Blessed, in 1992. There are plans to make a feature film biopic of Teddy's life. Tyrese Gibson is set to star as the late singer.
On June 5, 2009, Pendergrass underwent successful surgery for colon cancer and recovered to return home. A few weeks later he returned to the hospital with respiratory issues. After seven months, he died of respiratory failure on January 13, 2010, at age 59 with wife Joan by his side, while hospitalized at Bryn Mawr Hospital in suburban Philadelphia. Teddy is survived by his mother Ida, wife Joan, three children; Tisha, Teddy II, LaDonna, stepdaughters Sherilla Leftrade, Jessica Avila and four grandchildren and three stepgrandchildren.
From Wikipedia


''Teddy Pendergrass''
( LP Philadelphia International Records, 1977 )
Catalog # PZ 34390, 34390

A1 You Can't Hide From Yourself 4:06
Written-By - K. Gamble, L. Huff
A2 Somebody Told Me 5:13
Written-By - K. Gamble, J. Whitehead, G. McFadden, V. Carstarphen
A3 Be Sure 5:17
Written-By - K. Gamble, L. Huff
A4 And If I Had 4:23
Written-By - K. Gamble, L. Huff
B1 I Don't Love You Anymore 3:59
Written-By - K. Gamble, L. Huff
B2 The Whole Town's Laughing At Me 4:28
Written-By - S. Marshall, T. Wortham
B3 Easy, Easy, Got To Take It Easy 4:55
Written-By - J. Whitehead, G. McFadden, V. Carstarphen
B4 The More I Get, The More I Want 4:27
Written-By - J. Whitehead, G. McFadden, V. Carstarphen

Personnel & Credits:
Arranged By - Bobby Martin (tracks: A1, A4 to B4), Jack Faith (tracks: A2, A3)
Artwork By [Album Design] - Ed Lee
Bass - James Williams, Michael "Sugar Bear" Foreman
Congas, Bongos - Larry Washington
Drums - Charles Collins, Karl Chambers, Keith Benson
Engineer - Jay Mark , Jim Gallagher, Joe Tarsia
Engineer [Assistant] - Arthur Stoppe , Darrell Rogers, Jim Dougherty, Peter Humphreys
Guitar - Dennis Harris, Roland Chambers
Keyboards - Dexter Wansel, Ron Kersey, Victor Carstarphen
Photography - Frank Laffitte
Producer - Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B1),
John Whitehead, Gene McFadden (tracks: A2, B3, B4),
Sherman Marshall (tracks: B2),
Victor Carstarphen (tracks: A2, B3, B4)
Strings, Horns - MFSB

Catalog number on spine & inner label: PZ 34390
Catalog number on back of sleeve: 34390
A4 formerly entitled "Someone To Love Me".
Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, Pa.
Mastered at Frankford/Wayne Recording Labs, Philadelphia, Pa.
1977 CBS Inc.
Format:Vinyl, LP, Album


''You Can't Hide From Yourself''

Album Review by Ron Wynn (AMG)
The skeptics had their suspicions allayed quickly when Teddy Pendergrass' debut album as a solo singer cracked the Top 40. Its lead single, "I Don't Love You Anymore," was among his best uptempo tunes, and the follow-up ballad "The Whole Town's Laughing at Me" ended any speculation that he was returning to Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. While many thought the album would launch him to consistent R&B success, almost no one thought he would be R&B's biggest male star in a couple of years.

US Philadelphia International / Sony BMG, 2008 Re-Issue Review:
The original release was on Philadelphia International, 1977.
Produced by Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff; John Whitehead, Gene McFadden & Victor Carstarphen; Sherman Marshall
There couldn’t have been a more favourable environment for Teddy’s debut than Gamble & Huff and Philadelphia International Records. They had worked with Teddy for years and knew what they wanted to do with him. Teddy appreciated the fact that music came first for Gamble & Huff and that they varied their production style to suit the artist they were working with, and not vice versa. As Teddy put it, they had a rare gift of artistry combined with killer commercial instinct.
Of course these guys, Gamble & Huff, John Whitehead, Gene McFadden, Victor Carstarphen, Sherman Marshall (and later Thom Bell and Dexter Wansel), arrangers like Bobby Martin and Jack Faith and all the brilliant musicians did so much amazing stuff over the years that even this album, wonderful as it is, is just one of their achievements. Still, I think the whole lot of them should be knighted for this album alone. The level of musicianship is impeccable throughout and the abundance of tasty nuances in the production and arrangements is incredible.
The Gamble & Huff produced debut single, I Don’t Love You Anymore, hit # 7 on the R&B charts and was an impressive showcase for the album. After a brief percussive interlude, it quickly gets to the point and proceeds as a dynamically rolling piece of uptempo soul with an overall musical atmosphere that is decidedly uplifting despite the lyrics. I especially like the part where Teddy adds some typically rough and emotional ad libs over a tinkling piano and guitar picking. The McFadden, Whitehead & Carstarphen production, The More I Get, the More I Want, is a similar hard-driving percussive uptempo track with an insistent bassline. The opening track You Can’t Hide from Yourself is even more relentless with its rock-solid backing and horn riffs that hit you like a boxer hits a heavy bag. The way Gamble & Huff have combined the funk elements with the solid tune and Teddy’s rough’n rugged vocals is simply wonderful.
These three dynamite uptempo tunes are all brilliant, but, amazingly enough, the slow material is even more impressive. My number one choice would have to be Somebody Told Me, and this is despite the fact that the religious lyrics are totally irrelevant to me. A song of many layers, it starts with just a touch of percussion and a guitar introducing the melody, then Teddy’s gentle voice utters the sublime chorus line, the rhythm kicks in, Teddy adds a little stamina, the dramatic strings emerge, there’s an angelic choir, and little by little Teddy kicks his majestic voice into full gear. And so it goes on evolving, with something constantly happening. There’s subtlety, there’s strength and conviction. A true masterpiece and one of my all-time favourite tunes.
Then there’s the second single (R&B # 16), the instantly captivating yet profound ballad composition The Whole Town’s Laughing at Me. Of course, the arrangement is again faultless, but the tune itself is the main attraction for me. Why is it so good? I really couldn’t tell. Why is it that a Beatles tune that millions of people worship makes me want to vomit, but this one touches my soul? I have no idea, and to tell you the truth I prefer it that way.
As the final addition to my personal top three, I would have to single out Easy, Easy, Got to Take It Easy. The swaying rhythm instantly creates a carefree atmosphere and within seconds the melody and Teddy’s interpretation grab your full attention. The lyrics and overall feel are purely carnal, yet this in no way diminishes the musical value of this wonderful soul floater.
What’s left? And If I Had starts in an almost cinematic atmosphere with dramatic touches of sax and guitar, and Teddy seems charged with contained emotion. Towards the end, with the background singers and the typical passionate finale, the song starts to sound more like a typical R&B ballad, and the end result is quite fascinating. The easy-going swayer Be Sure seemed to me the most ordinary outing, but as an album filler it is perfectly fine, particularly considering Teddy’s typically inspired interpretation.
A classic album.
By Petteri Ruotsalainen (Soulexpress)


''The More I Get, The More I Want''

On Line:
All Music Guide
TP Official Site

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