Thursday, January 14, 2010

Teddy Pendergrass

2 Pieces of Trivia:

The guy in Die Hard who played the asshole, cocky, coke-head, bearded prick that tried make moves on Holly Genaro and told Hans Gruber, "this guy running around the building, Hans, bubbe, I can give him to you," is also the guy that directed PCU. A shocking bit of trivia I know.

Equally amazing: Harold Melvin was never actually the lead singer in Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes. Teddy Pendergrass was the drummer in the Bluenotes backing band and eventually replaced John Atkins as the lead singer. So when Teddy Pendergrass became the singer, he replaced the old lead singer that was not even Harold Melvin.

Knowing this tidbit, Snoop's baffling interlude on Doggystyle is made all the more confusing, after exclaiming that he'll "treat a bitch like 7-Up I never have I never," (only theory that has held water over all these years is that he really does not like 7-up) he proudly tells his friends that he will "tell a bitch like this 'Bitch, you without me is like Harry Melvin without Bluenotes You'll never go platinum.'" Clearly, we all know this is highly inaccurate, as Pendergrass was key to the Bluenotes platinum sales. And after his departure for a solo career, the Bluenotes would never again match the success they enjoyed in their Pendergrass heyday.

There's not much to say about Pendergrass that hasn't been said or written in the last few days. I think most conversations can start and end with his voice. His voice and the way he used it. Pendergrass didn't just have a powerful baritone, but he could make it a smooth and as gruff as he wanted. One obit I read mentioned there really "hasn't been a real raw, gospel-influenced, deep-voiced adult black male star since Teddy's peak.” I never really thought about that, but I guess there's a point to it. Since Teddy Pendergrass most R&B singers with any level of longevity tend to sing in much higher voices. Is the baritone a thing of the past?

But his baritone, man, he could whisper in it, and he could shout, and shout loudly, without ever loosing the momentum of the song. Most of his songs reward the listener's patience, after a few vocal theatrics in the very beginning Teddy waits till the end to start shouting, pleading, begging, and pleasing. (no homo) It's unfortunate many of his songs end with a fadeout, as that's when he really gets going.
Also, Love TKO is one of the greatest songs of all time.
So here's a few songs.

1. I Miss You. Pendergrass really came with it and let the world know with If You Don't Know Me By Now, I Miss You is the first song on that album, and it's equally good. The only difference is I Miss You features a five minute long answering machine message, which is mos def worth the listen.

2. Turn Off The Lights
Around the 4.40 mark he just goes off. And the bit about the hot oils is always shocking.

And the greatest smoothed out slow jam of all time


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