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Today we honor R&B Singer Teddy Pendergrass who died at age 59 due to a rare illness related to paralysis that surfaced in 1982 following a car accident.

Teddy Pendergrass started singing gospel music in Philadelphia churches, becoming an ordained minister at ten years old. While attending public school, he sang in the city-wide McIntyre Elementary School Choir and in the All-City Stetson Junior High School Choir. A self-taught drummer, Pendergrass had a teen pop vocal group when he was 15.

By his late teens, Pendergrass was a drummer for local vocal group the Cadillacs. In the late ’60s, the Cadillacs merged with another more-established group, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. In 1970, when the Blue Notes broke up, Melvin, now aware of Pendergrass’ vocal prowess, asked him to take the lead singer spot. Teddy went on to receive several Grammy nominations during 1977 and 1978, -Billboard’s 1977 Pop Album New Artist Award, an American Music Award for best R&B performer of 1978, and awards from -Ebony magazine and the NAACP. He was also in consideration for the lead in the movie biopic The Otis Redding Story. The ’70s ended, but Pendergrass kept racking up the hits. TP, his fifth solo album, went platinum in the summer of 1980 off the singles “Turn Off the Lights,” “Come Go with Me,” “Shout and Scream,” “It’s You I Love,” and “Can’t We Try.” It’s Time for Love gave Pendergrass another gold album in summer 1981, which included the hit singles “Love TKO” and “I Can’t Live Without Your Love.”

In 1985, he made a surprise appearance at Live Aid in Philadelphia. In 1998, he released his biography ‘Truly Blessed’ and then in 2006 retired from the music industry.

Here are our favorite Top 5 Teddy Pendergrass songs:

“Love TKO”

“When Somebody Loves You Back”

“Turn Off The Lights”

“Close The Door”

“The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me”