Teddy Pendergrass

Pendergrass in 2001

Theodore DeReese Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 – January 13, 2010) was an American soul and R&B singer-songwriter. He was born in Kingstree, South Carolina.[2][3][4] Pendergrass lived most of his life in the Philadelphia area, and initially rose to musical fame as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. After leaving the group in 1976, Pendergrass launched a successful solo career under the Philadelphia International label, releasing five consecutive platinum albums (a record at the time for an African-American R&B artist). Pendergrass’s career was suspended after a March 1982 car crash left him paralyzed from the waist down. Pendergrass continued his successful solo career until announcing his retirement in 2007. He died from respiratory failure in January 2010.

Teddy Pendergrass

Early lifeedit

Teddy Pendergrass was born Theodore DeReese Pendergrass on March 26, 1950, in Kingstree, South Carolina.[5] He was the only child of Jesse and Ida Geraldine (née Epps) Pendergrass. Ida suffered six miscarriages before successfully giving birth to Teddy. When Pendergrass was very young, his father left the family. As he grew older, his mother promised him that she would find his father so that they could meet. She fulfilled that promise, and Teddy met his father when he was 11 years old. Not long after, Jesse was stabbed to death on June 13, 1962, during an altercation with another man. He was 47 years of age. Pendergrass grew up in the impoverished section of North Philadelphia and often sang at church. He dreamed of being a pastor and got his wish when, at age 10, he was ordained a minister (according to author Robert Ewell Greene). Pendergrass also took up drums during this time and was a junior deacon of his church.

He attended Thomas Edison High School for Boys in North Philadelphia. He sang with the Edison Mastersingers. He dropped out[6] in the 11th grade to enter the music business, recording his first song “Angel with Muddy Feet”. The recording, however, was not a commercial success. Pendergrass played drums for several local Philadelphia bands, eventually becoming the drummer of The Cadillacs (not the famed Harlem-based group of the same name).[7] In 1970, he was spotted by the Blue Notes’ founder, Harold Melvin (1939–1997), who convinced Pendergrass to play drums in the group.[7] However, during a performance, Pendergrass began singing along, and Melvin, impressed by his vocals, made him the lead singer.[7] Before Pendergrass joined the group, the Blue Notes had struggled to find success. This all changed when they landed a recording deal with Philadelphia International Records in 1971, thus beginning Pendergrass’s successful collaboration with label founders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *