The 2010 Year in Review: The Morning Sun Will Greet You

R.I.P. Teddy Pendergrass


Although the horrible accident that stole the movement of his limbs didn’t take his golden voice that was the day we really lost Teddy, because his commanding stage presence coupled with that voice is what drove the women crazy. However, that decade of music made prior to that tragic accident has stood the test of time and endeared Teddy Pendergrass in the lives of millions forever. I’m saying, how many of us are out there looking for a 50/50 love? I’ve tried to write this three times over the past week, but just couldn’t get through it for some reason, but after putting “Can't We Try?” on repeat, it all flowed just as effortlessly as Teddy singing Gamble and Huff’s finest.

Understand that I’ve had a relationship with Teddy Pendergrass all of my life. Let me rephrase that, I’ve had a relationship with Teddy Pendergrass’ music for all of my life. I can’t pinpoint the first time I heard his gruff voice, but I do know that I’ve been captivated by it up until the very second I started typing this morning. Take a second and go through the archives to check how many Teddy Pendergrass references have been titles to previous posts. My relationship with Teddy P’s music has gone through various stages of maturation. As a child, just appreciating the good music my family played, to my young adult years of putting “Turn Off the Lights”, “Close the Door”, and “Come Go With Me” on those slow jam GTD mixtapes we all used to make, to using a ‘Greatest Hits’ CD as a place of refuge in adulthood.

There have been plenty of evenings after a stressful day or event that I’ve put on “The Whole’s Town Laughing at Me” and buried my sorrows in his wailing. Ironically, the last time being the night he passed, only to wake up to find out the bad news. There were much bigger issues in the world that day, but his passing affected me in a way that I wouldn’t have anticipated. Maybe it was the voice; maybe it was the songs; no, had to be the lyrics. It seems that the songs he sang were personally taken from my life, no matter the situation, they were always relatable. A few weeks ago I remember having an especially lonely evening and listening to, “And If I Had”, and identifying with the song, line by line. I get frustrated with the world and there’s “Wake Up Everybody” from his days with Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes to say what’s on my mind or when I hit a rough patch in a relationship, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. How many times have I sung the opening lines from “Love T.K.O.” in the shower after another failed relationship? And of course, those timeless slow jams we’ve all turned on when we wanna be grown.

I can’t speak of the “Ladies Only” concerts or the women throwing their panties on stage at him, I was mesmerized by his voice and the lyrics he sang, oblivious to his sex symbol status. However, I know what an icon is and I know timeless music when it grabs hold to me. Remember the movie “Sugar Hill” and Michael Wright’s character "Raynathan" singing “Love T.K.O.” before killing a man? That scene wouldn’t have been even remotely memorable if he sang some random popular song of the day, but it was something the audience could identify with from years prior and even now would sing along if watching.

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