Rhythm and Blues Singer, Songwriter. He was a major figure in the American Soul and Rhythm and Blues genres as both a singer and a songwriter during the 1970s and 1980s, with hit songs that included "Close the Door," "Love T.K.O.," "Joy," and "It Should Have Been You." Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he started singing gospel music in Philadelphia churches at a young age, becoming an ordained minister at ten years old. He soon taught himself to play several instruments and he joined several local musical groups in Philadelphia. Pendergrass's professional music career began when he was a drummer for “The Cadillacs”, which merged with “Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes” in 1969. Later the group signed with music producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff on the then CBS subsidiary Philadelphia International Records in 1972. “The Blue Notes” had hit songs such as "I Miss You", "Bad Luck", and "Wake Up Everybody". Personality conflicts between Melvin and Teddy Pendergrass followed a brief stint with Pendergrass leading a group of Blue Notes. He eventually launched a solo career and released hit singles "The More I Get the More I Want", "Close The Door", "I Don't Love You Anymore", "Turn Out The Lights", and more. Teddy Pendergrass was the first African-American singer to sell five platinum albums in a row. He also began his practice of ladies-only concerts, for which he remains well known. On March 18, 1982, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pendergrass was paralyzed when the brakes failed on his Rolls Royce and his car hit a tree. Paralyzed from the chest down with a spinal cord injury, he spent six months in rehabilitation. After completing physical therapy, he returned to public appearances on July 13, 1985 at the historic Live Aid concert in Philadelphia and continued to record throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, he released his autobiography entitled, Truly Blessed. In 2006, Pendergrass announced his retirement from the music business. In 2009, Pendergrass entered Bryn Mawr Hospital in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania for treatment of a rare illness related to his paralysis condition. He later died there months later from complications following surgery for colon cancer at age 59. During his musical career Teddy Pendergrass received several Grammy nominations and awards including 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 founded the Pendergrass Institute for Music and Performing Arts to assist aspiring performers, and also supported causes that championed the rights of the disabled.
Bio by: Curtis Jackson
Jesse T Pendergrass