Teddy Pendergrass was one of the leading male R&B stars of the 70s and one of the most electric performers of his time. Pendergrass began his career as a drummer but first rose to fame in the 1970s when he became lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, which had hits such as "If You Don't Know Me by Now" and "I Miss You."
After leaving the Blue Notes for a solo career, he had a string of hit love ballads that were considered musical aphrodisiacs by his fans. His solo hits, notable for his smooth baritone and sensual delivery, included "I Don't Love You Anymore," "Close the Door," "Turn off the Lights" and "Love TKO."
Pendergrass crashed his Rolls-Royce in Philadelphia in 1982 and was left paralyzed from the waist down. He resumed his recording career the next year with the album "Love Language" and returned to the stage by performing from his wheelchair at the Live Aid concert in 1985.
He started the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance in 1998 to benefit victims of spinal cord injuries.
The team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff wrote and produced many of Pendergrass's hits and Huff recalled the singer's solo debut at a Los Angeles nightclub. "That night I saw the coming of a superstar," Huff said in an interview with radio station WDAS. "When Teddy walked out on the stage, he didn't even open his mouth and the place went crazy with screaming females. He was just so dynamic and when he started singing, he just blew them away."
Pendergrass died at age 59 of colon cancer.
Photo: Getty Images