I have two memories of Teddy Pendergrass from my childhood. One is of him onstage, commandeering the stage and audience--including my five-year-old attention--as we all seemingly sat enraptured by his voice wrapped in a chocolate casing draped in all white. My second memory of Teddy is being awoken by my parents who, knowing how in love with him I was, had to gently break the news to me that he was seriously hurt in a car accident. My tears only subsided when we all agreed that I would send him a "get well" card to the hospital where he was recovering.
Many of you may know that his first real claim to fame came as a member of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, not as the lead as he was often mistaken, but as the drummer whose masculine and gruff yet tender voice made masses of women swoon and men envious but full of awe.
Teddy had his share of tragedies, notwithstanding the accident that left him paralyzed one week shy of his 32nd birthday. He battled and claimed victories over other illnesses in recent years and in the process was able to enjoy more recognition from those who weren't alive when he first amazed so many. Despite many people's assertion that Jaheim's singing voice closely resembles Teddy's, this was something that Teddy himself denied. It may have been his ego, but I agree with him. Teddy is one of the few soul singers whose sound was unflitered yet was able to cross over in ways that simply would not be possible in today's music industry climate.
To say that Teddy will be missed is an understatement. In fact, Teddy luckily was someone whose fans loved him so much, he was celebrated even before he took his last breath. His hits are endless. His impression indelible. We may have lost a legend, but we will always have his music just as we had it before. Today, let's not mourn him with tears, but celebrate with song. That being said, we'll try not to drop down on our knees, begging for your return. Because we really miss you, Teddy. And we mean that from the bottom of our hearts. We'll try not to hold that Beatles wig against you, by the way.
Please do us a favor and tell Michael and Luther that we really miss them, too. Thank you dearly. Safe travels.