AP reports that R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass died today at Bryn Mawr Hospital just outside of Philadelphia, PA. He was 59 years old.
Pendergrass first came into the national spotlight as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, a Philadelphia-based soul group which topped the charts with 1972’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Wake Up Everybody,” and many more classic songs. He later went solo, landing numerous singles on the pop and R&B charts throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, such as “Close the Door” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore.”
In 1982, Pendergrass was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident, but returned to the stage, performing in a wheelchair for Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985. Recently, he was having “a difficult recovery” after undergoing surgery for colon cancer last spring.
Roots drummer, Questlove, tweeted about the sad news, saying, “Soul will never be the same” before starting a list (that’s still in progress) of “10 Teddy Classics.” Check out and stream his picks here.
Watch a classic clip of Pendergrass and the Blue Notes performing “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” on Soul Train here or below: