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RIP Teddy Pendergrass

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March 26, 1950 – January 13, 2010

Some voices you never forget. Legendary singer Teddy Pendergrass had such a voice. In its prime, it was raw, sexy, smooth, passionate, and explosive. A true Soul singer. His voice was one of those gifts given to only a few. Hopefully, he’s singing now in a higher place. Pendergrass passed away last night in Philadelphia, apparently of complications following surgery for colon cancer.

His life and career were filled with some highs and lows. In 1982, he was an international sex symbol and entertainer when a tragic car crash left him paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Pendergrass was still able to sing, but not with the power that had been part of his signature style. He was only 31 at the time and had already amassed a collection of platinum albums.

Some of Pendergrass’ classic hits from the ’70s and ’80s include, “Close the Door,” “Love TKO,” “Turn off the Lights,” “Come Go With Me,” “When Somebody Loves You Back,” “You’re My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration,” and with Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, “Bad Luck,” “You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good,” and “Wake Up Everybody.”

Pendergrass continued to record and perform after the accident, but his career never recovered the scope it had achieved previously. Pendergrass was 59 when he died.

I think the words of the hit “Wake Up Everybody” are still relevant today. Other artists have recorded the song, but in my opinion, TP’s version is still the best.


“Wake Up Everybody” (1975)

Wake up everybody no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin time for thinkin ahead
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be so
there is so much hatred war an’ poverty
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way
Maybe then they’ll listen to whatcha have to say
Cause they’re the ones who’s coming up and the world is in their hands
when you teach the children teach em the very best you can.

The world won’t get no better if we just let it be
The world won’t get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.

Wake up all the doctors make the ol’ people well
They’re the ones who suffer an’ who catch all the hell
But they don’t have so very long before the Judgement Day
So won’tcha make them happy before they pass away.
Wake up all the builders time to build a new land
I know we can do it if we all lend a hand
The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind
Surely things will work out they do it every time.

The world won’t get no better if we just let it be
The world won’t get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.



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2 Responses to RIP Teddy Pendergrass

  1. Randy Pena Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

  2. John Brady Friday, January 15, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    I am saddened by Teddy Pendergrass’ passing. What a great voice and great records.(a record being a separate work of art rather than just a mere “song”)

    I am also saddened at the continuing passing into history of the “Philadelphia Sound”. We have lost another artist who was a touchstone of that style.

    The easiest way to tell a “Philly” record is that the bass is ahead of the beat. That drives the records of “The Stylistics” and “The Spinners”. Even the ballads have that drive.

    Keep singing Teddy! You can dance now.

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