Teddy Pendergrass

An ordained minister at just 10-years-old, Teddy Pendergrass grew up belting out gospel hymns and preaching in Philadelphia churches before becoming a leading soul star of the 1970s. Starting out playing with The Cadillacs, he joined local R&B group Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes as drummer but was soon promoted to sing and front the group, and led them to stardom with the big hits If You Don't Know Me By Now, The Love I Lost and Don't Leave Me This Way. A much-loved central figure on the Philly Soul scene, he turned solo in 1977 with his self-titled debut and crafted a style that melded his deep, raw, emotional delivery and sexy swagger with disco beats, pop ballads and classic soul heartache. The first black artist to have five platinum selling albums in a row, he got a little funkier on Life Is A Song Worth Singing (1978), played the seductive crooner on his US Top Five album Teddy (1979), hit his peak with TP (1980) and along the way scored a string of well-received R&B singles, including Close The Door, Love TKO and Two Hearts. He was seriously injured in car accident in 1982 that left him paralysed from the waist down, but continued performing and recording and went on to influence the likes of Kanye West, R Kelly and Bobby Brown before he died in 2010 as a result of colon cancer.

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