Teddy Pendergrass: In My Time
Teddy Pendergrass rose through the ranks of the Philadelphia music scene in the 1960s and eventually became the drummer for Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes. Pendergrass stepped to the front of the Bluenotes as lead singer on hits like If You Don’t Know Me By Now and Wake Up Everybody. He became a star in his own right with the release of his 1977 solo album, Teddy Pendergrass.
Pendergrass’ music blended R&B and soul, with a touch of the blues and hints of disco. Onstage, he was a dynamic force of sultry sexuality who became famous for his “ladies only” shows where he’d be showered with panties thrown from the audience.
That changed abruptly on March 18, 1982, when he crashed his Rolls-Royce on Lincoln Drive in Philadelphia. “The truth of the matter is at the very beginning of your experience, things are very different than what you knew two days ago and it is quite devastating,” said Pendergrass of the accident. “The honest answer is that some people don’t want to deal with it. This is a life altering injury that will change your views, your emotional views, your economical views. It changes everything so when you make a decision to live (with the injury) that means you have to make a decision to say, ‘Well, I’m going to have a road ahead of me but I’m willing to deal with it while I can and make the best of where I am,’ ” he said.
Pendergrass first performed in public after the accident during the 1985 Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. He continued to record albums and last toured from 2001 to ’03. “I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I can choose to do it if I want to, or I can choose not to do it if I want to,” said Pendergrass of the music industry. “I choose to do other things that I’m passionate about rather than be one dimensional: album, tour, album, tour.”
“I have other things that I’m really passionate about. I have some other skills I’d like to exercise. What I’ve learned after my injury, I found out there are other things I can do.” One thing has been to raise awareness about the plight of people with spinal-cord injuries. Proceeds from a benefit concert held last week, which marked the 25 years since his accident, went to The Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a non-profit organization that helps people with spinal-cord injuries rebuild their lives, Pendergrass said.
“Hopefully, people will say this is a worthy effort, this is something we need to support,” Pendergrass said. “It’s one of those things people just tend to overlook. People see a person in a wheelchair and go, ‘Oh poor guy, oh poor girl.’ We’re not poor guys, we’re not poor girls. If you give us an opportunity, we can do anything anybody else is doing.”
Teddy Pendergrass: In My Time
(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)
First Performance after His Injury: Live Aid, 1985
Teddy Pendergrass: Close the Door (Apollo Hall of Fame Concert, 1993)
Technorati: Teddy Pendergrass, In My Time, African-American, singer, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Philadelphia, singer, song, music, video, music video, dailymotion, culture, cultural issues, cultural, social, social issues, society, disabilities, spinal injury, Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA