Published on May 25th 2010 by Leon Shepherd

Theodore DeReese “Teddy” Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 – January 13, 2010) was an R&B singer and songwriter. Pendergrass’ career began when he was a drummer for The Cadillacs, which soon merged with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Melvin invited Pendergrass to become the lead singer after he jumped from the rear of a stage and started singing his heart out. Months later the group signed with Gamble and Huff. The Blue Notes had hits such as “I Miss You”, “Bad Luck”, “Wake Up Everybody”, the two million seller “If You Don’t Know Me by Now”, and many more. Personality conflicts between Melvin and Pendergrass arose, including Teddy wishing to rename the group “Teddy Pendergrass and the Blue Notes”. He left the group in 1977, and the group never found a strong replacement. His first solo album was self titled Teddy Pendergrass (1977), followed by Life is a Song Worth Singing (1978), Live Coast to Coast and Teddy (1979), 1980′s TP and his final Philadelphia International Records album It’s Time for Love (1981). He also sang a duet with Whitney Houston on “Hold Me”, from her self-titled debut album. All 5 of the albums released during the 1977-1981 period hit at least #6 on the R&B charts, and “Life Is a Song Worth Singing” hit #1 R&B. Three of his albums found enough crossover success to break the top 20 on the Pop Charts. He released eight top-10 R&B singles on those 5 albums during this time frame. During this time, Pendergrass and Marvin Gaye had a falling out because Pendergrass allegedly went on a few dates with Marvin’s ex-wife Jan. Later that year, Pendergrass came up with the concept to have ‘women only’ concerts, which sold out quickly across the country as women threw their panties on stage. Nicknamed Teddy Bear by adoring fans who fought over his sweat-soaked towels at ”For Women Only” concerts, the robust, husky-voiced singer was at a peak. But early 1982, things came to a screeching halt.On March 18, 1982, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia on Lincoln Drive, Pendergrass was involved in an automobile accident. The brakes failed on his 1981 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, causing the car to hit a guard rail, cross into the opposite traffic lane, and hit two trees. Pendergrass and his passenger, Tenika Watson, a transsexual nightclub performer with whom Pendergrass was casually acquainted, were trapped in the wreckage for 45 minutes. While Watson walked away from the accident with minor injuries, Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. In 1998, Pendergrass released his autobiography entitled, Truly Blessed.  In 2009, Pendergrass underwent surgery for colon cancer and had difficulty recovering. He died following respiratory failure on January 13, 2010, at age 59, while hospitalized at Bryn Mawr Hospital in suburban Philadelphia. He is survived by his son, Teddy Pendergrass II, two daughters and mother Ida Pendergrass. This top 10 list is dedicated to the memory of the late great Teddy Pendergrass.   



10. Can’t We Try





9. Whole Town’s Laughing at Me





8. You’re My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration




7. Joy



6. When Somebody Loves You Back
5. Come Go With Me



4. I Don’t Love You Anymore



3. Love T.K.O.


2. Turn off the Lights


1. Close the Door







Music | Comments (12)

12 Responses to “Top 10 Songs by Teddy Pendergrass”

  1. Terrance Says:

    So you didnt consider the songs with Harlod Melvin & The Blue Notes. “The Love I Lost” and “Wake up Everybody”

  2. Shack Says:

    NIce list and agree with this ranking but my personal favorite is “Come Go With Me” and the duet with Sharon Paige “You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good” is my other favorite when he was with the Blue Notes.

  3. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    I loved this list Leon! I love that you did youtube again. I felt like I was at a Teddy Pendergrass concert. Great job, great order.

  4. Leon Says:

    Terrance, I went back & forth in trying to decide if I should include the hits T.P. had with H.M. & The Blue Notes. But I decided that even though T.P. was the lead singer, and the one responsible for the groups success, the group was still defined as Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, which is why T.P. eventually left the group. Here’s another point, if I do a top 10 featuring Diana Ross, I won’t include the numerous hits she had with the Supremes, only the hits she had as a solo artist.

  5. Leon Says:

    Thanks Lenora!

  6. Trisha Says:

    Another list to learn from Leon. The YouTube is a great way to help with the memory holes, I agree with the order.

  7. Leon Says:

    Thanks Trisha!

  8. Shonee Says:

    This is real singing! Im in agreeance with everyone about the order of this list and posting videos from Youtube. My favorite TP songs are #’s 9,6,5,4,1 AND his duet with Stephanie Mills “Two Hearts”

  9. Shack Says:

    Ms. Shonee I reference S. Paige’s duet w TP but totally forgot about my girl STEPHANIE MILLS who is one of MY TOP TEN FEMALE Vocalists (although some who own blogs disagree). Thanks for the reminder and it was a GREAT Duet!

  10. tiffany & co Says:

    So you didnt consider the songs with Harlod Melvin & The Blue Notes. “The Love I Lost” and “Wake up Everybody”tiffany & co

  11. Leon Says:

    Actually Tiffany, I strongly considered the songs with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.
    But I decided against it because if I included Teddy’s hits with H.M. & The Blue Notes, I would also have to include Michael Jackson’s hits with The Jackson Five, Diana Ross’s hits with The Supremes, etc.
    And another reason I didn’t include Teddy’s hits with the Blue Notes, because if I had included them, I’m positive someone would have said, “Wake up Everybody” wasn’t Teddy Pendergrass, that was Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.
    Thanks for the comment!

  12. Tony Miller Says:

    Please, keep up the excellent work and continue to post topics like this. I am old fan of your site.