According to Music Week:
Veteran soul singer Teddy Pendergrass, whose voice graced such classics as If You Don’t Know Me By Now, has died (at) aged 59.
The one-time singer with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes passed away at a Philadelphia hospital after what has been described as a “difficult recovery” from colon cancer surgery.
With the Blue Notes, Pendergrass was one of the leading names of the Sound of Philadelphia, which emerged in the early Seventies via CBS-affiliated label Philadelphia International run by songwriters and producers Gamble & Huff. Other acts on the label included the O’Jays and Three Degrees.
Melvin & The Blue Notes were signed to the label in 1972, scoring their first US hit that year with I Miss You. They reached number three in the States the same year with If You Don’t Know Me By Now – later a Hot 100 number one for Simply Red – which became their breakthrough UK hit in early 1973 when it reached number nine.
Other hits for the group included The Love I Lost, Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Take Your Love Back) and Wake Up Everybody, while in 1977 Pendergrass launched a solo career with a self-titled first album and the hits I Don’t Love You Anymore and The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me.
His 1978 hit Close The Door was the subject of the first of five Grammy nominations for Pendergrass, all for best male R&B vocal performance.
As the result of a car accident in March 1982, in which the brakes failed on his Rolls Royce, he was paralysed from the waist down. But he continued recording and enjoyed a string of further solo hits, including US Billboard R&B number ones Joy and It Should’ve Been Me.
In 2001 he toured for the first time since his accident, beginning that May with a concert in Atlantic City. Five years later he announced his retirement from the music business, though briefly returned in 2007 to take part in Teddy 25: A Celebration of Life, Hope & Possibilities, an awards ceremony marking 25 years since his accident.