If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Teddy Pendergrass & The Blue Notes

     Of course you know that The Old School, New School, Need To Learn Though Show is a hip hop show.  There are many other hip hop online radio shows but not many have the love for old soul classics that we do.  We have done a tribute to James Brown as well as Michael Jackson in our own special way.   We love old soul and funk and rock and basically we just love music, so with that being said there was no way possible that I could not do a show on the legendary Teddy Pendergrass.  Some people may not be familiar with T.P. or Teddy Bear as his millions of adoring female fans called him so I will take this blog to tell you a little about him.

    Born in South Carolina and  raised in Philadelphia, Teddy learned the drums by copying the drum patterns of John “Jabo” Starks. (no relation to the man, that as a Chicagoan, I have nothing for disdain for, former New York Knicks guard John Starks)  I’d have to admit if you’re going to learn the drums you could do a lot worse than the “Funk Drummer” himself.  This he parlayed into his first gig playing for a James Brown knock off from Nova Scotia, of all places, called Little Royal.  From there, He became drummer for a band called The Cadillacs.  In 1970 his life changed forever.  He became drummer for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes.  Lead singer John Adkins left the group and after Teddy came from behind the skins to sing, a star was born.  Harold Melvin could not deny the sheer power of Teddy’s voice and his voice was instrumental in them joining Philadelphia International and Gamble and Huff in ’72.   “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (1972, their breakout single), “I Miss You” (1972), The Love I Lost  (1973), and Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1975), and socially conscious songs such as “Wake Up Everybody” and “Bad Luck” (both 1975) were some of their many hits. “Bad Luck”  still holds the record for longest-running number-one hit on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart: eleven weeks.   Name one R & B singer today that could pull that off….don’t worry, I’ll wait…….I didn’t think so.

     Teddy Pendergrass life changed again when he demanded that Harold Melvin change the name of the band to Teddy Pendergrass and The Blue Notes.  Harold refused.  Teddy left.  I remember when Snoop Dogg said on his album Doggystyle, “You without me is like Harold Melvin without the Blue Notes! You’ll never go platinum!”  Well Harold Melvin and his other bandmates fell into relative obscurity but from that day forward for Teddy, as we say now, IT WAS ON! 

     Building off his previous success he gave the world such classics as Pendergrass launched a solo career and released hit singles like “The More I Get the More I Want,” “Close The Door,” “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” “Turn Off the Lights” “Love TKO” and countless others.  Teddy was a master showman as well being the first artist to do Ladies Only concerts where they handed out Teddy Bears!   Some of us guys have a hard time getting 1 woman alone with us let alone thousands!  His influence was so great Usher later bit this idea from Teddy years later.

     In 1982 Teddy’s life changed yet again.  He was in an awful car accident where the breaks gave out on his Rolls Royce and he crashed into a tree paralyzing him from the neck down.  Teddy being a fighter could not be held down (like puffy “can’t stop, won’t stop!”)  he brought tears to the eyes of the world (including my moms) making his first public appearance since the crash at Live Aid with Ashford and Simpson singing “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand”. 

    Teddy didn’t release much more music after that saying “it’s a young mans game”  but his influence can be heard in everybody from Johnny Gill to Usher.  His music has been sampled and kept alive by hip hop artists such as Little Brother, Kanye West, Cam’Ron, Twista, Ghostface, 9th Wonder, DMX, and Green Lantern. Cedric’s joke in Kings of Comedy lives on about how Teddy while being smooth he could get rough too (TURN EM OFF!)  and My man Sherman Klump sang the classic “Close The Door” while expressing his love to his microwave meal in Nutty Professor II. 

     I have always been a huge Teddy Pendergrass fan as he was one of the artists my mom would play on our sunday cleaning tradition growing up in Chicago.  He will always hold a special place in my heart and hopefully after our tribute show, if this is your first time hearing him, he will in yours too.

     Classic soul is the foundation of the Hip Hop I love so dearly so it’s only right that Will and I do this show.  I hope you enjoy it hearing it as much as Will and I enjoyed putting it together.  Thank you for keeping hip hop alive and tell a friend.  Each One Teach One

Ya Man,

The Professor


~ by Professor Mike on January 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Teddy Pendergrass & The Blue Notes”

  1. will e. rock here, wanted to drop off a link to some real good “Bad Luck” and let you all know that at Old School New School, if you -have- to dance, this video will show you how we do it.

  2. respect to our guests in the studio!

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