Home Of Interest Unsung Review: Teddy Pendergrass

Unsung Review: Teddy Pendergrass



Teddy Pendergrass: (Premiere episode, Sept. 13 on TV One) width=

Once again another tragic/success story in the history of R&B music. I have to admit there was not much I didn’t know about in Unsung’s story of Teddy Pendergrass but I did hear in recent months that Harold Melvin was once considered one of the sleaziest people in the history of the industry. Melvin (who died in March of 1997) was said by industry people as well as people in this series to be insanely jealous of Teddy Pendergrass’s talent and his popularity with the fans. Melvin originally hired Teddy to join the group as a drummer until producers Gamble and Huff heard him singing one day and realized HE had to front the group. Teddy recorded his first single as a singer at the age of 16 and it flopped, discouraging the young Pendergrass from being a singer to an altered interest to drums.

To add insult to injury, the younger and more popular new lead singer for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, was often assumed to be Harold Melvin (since the group’s name implied Harold Melvin was the lead singer of the group).

Teddy eventually left the group when he discovered Harold Melvin was stealing a majority of the group’s income. Teddy was slated to become a huge superstar, his potential success, sans the car accident, would have made him the first major black male crossover superstar and his timing was great, since Barry White’s star was starting to fade. At the time, his only real competition was Peabo Bryson, another stellar singer whom Teddy still out-shined.   Before his accident in 1982, he was doing everything from negotiating movie deals to testing a possible worldwide tour but it all came to a (no pun intended) crashing end.

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