I was saddened last week by the news that Teddy Pendergrass, the great soul singer, had died.
For a long period of time, Pendergrass was the lead singer for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. He personified masculine love songs, which, prior to Teddy, were an unknown.
Before Teddy, I suffered through such travesties as "Love Will Keep us Together" by Neil Sadaka and later released by Captain and Tennile. My God, Neil Sadaka and Captain and Tennile in the same article. I think I see a chariot of angels in the sky.
But Teddy, with a gravely, gruff voice, knew how to do it. When he sang, "If You Don't Know Me By Now," by God, you'd turn to your buddy and say, "What in the world is wrong with that woman if she doesn't know Teddy by now?"
When Teddy said, "What's the use of a love affair, if all we do is argue, fuss, and fight?" he spoke for mankind. At the same time, women all over the world melted because when Teddy said he loved you, then, praise the Lord, you were flat-out loved.
Teddy represented a time when music was based on the singing ability of the lead singer. And Lord knows I miss those days. Now, if you can talk fast and put together a simple rhyme, you're on the way to riches. Mother Goose would have been a megastar rapper in today's world and Dr. Seuss missed his calling.
I miss the days when we had folks like Barry White, who sang, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby" and "You're the First, the Last, My Everything."
Barry White was the doctor of love. He even had a band called the Love Unlimited Orchestra. Barry's voice was so deep he makes John Wayne sound like Pee Wee Herman. By the time Barry got through singing, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby," I would have went out on a date with him if he had asked.
If you were in the back seat of the car with your high school sweetheart, Barry White was playing on the eight-track, and you couldn't get anywhere, then it was time to move on to another girl because either you've got a date with a nun or you're on day 10 of the five-day deodorant pad. If she ain't giving it up on Barry White, she won't ever be doing it.
And, for those times when love turned bad, you had the Chi-Lites, who sang, "Have you Seen Her?" I remember it started off by saying, "One month ago today, I was happy as a lark, but now I go for walks, to the movies, maybe even to the park." Then the lead singer would break into a mournful, "Why, oh why, did you have to go away?" If your girlfriend broke up with you and this song came on the radio, you'd better turn it off or before you know it you'd down a bottle of sleeping pills. I don't know who the lead singer was, but Mariah Carey wishes she could sing that high.
Finally, you had the Manhattans, led by lead singer Gerald Alston and a band member from Macon named Edward Sonny Bivins. They sang, "Kiss and Say Goodbye." Man, what a song. He was singing about ending an affair, but by the time he got through crooning his way toward saying let's just kiss and say goodbye, the Baptist preacher was probably considering an affair just to see what in the world could make someone cry out so painfully.
Yep, I'm going to miss Teddy. Instead, I'm stuck with Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre. and the like.
But we do have a ray of sunshine. We still have "Pants on the Ground."
Rest in Peace, Teddy. Rest in Peace.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.