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Mr. TKO: Teddy Pendergrass


Here at We Were Funky we are a bit obsessed with all things old school, especially love music. Who better to mention than the ultimate sex symbol, Mr. TKO; Teddy Pendergrass.


Pendergrass began his career in a group called Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff wanted Marvin Junior of the Dells to the lead singer of the group, however, he was unavailable and after hearing the artistry in Pendergrass’ voice they did not hesitate to sign him on. His voice was the sound of deep passion for many. Together they collaborated on records like “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” “Bad Luck,” and few others that became number one hits. Pendergrass eventually left his original group and formed his own solo career in 1977.


Honey, Pendergrass breaking into his solo career was the best thing for all of us. He was free to show us just how passionate, deep, and raspy his voice and nature could be. He released his self-titled album with the disco hit “I Don’t Love You Anymore.” From there he started the climb to much more success and fame. His debut album Life Is a Song Worth Singing became successful with the hit classic “Close the Door.” Just from mentioning the song, you could feel his baritone voice in your chest and you hit a little shoulder move, didn’t you? “When Somebody Love You Back,” “It Don’t Hurt Now,” an many others came from this album alone. His next albums Teddy and TP had some of the best hits on them such as the ultimate love song “Turn Off the Lights”, “Do Me”, and “Love TKO”. Pendergrass was THEE sex symbol of R&B and soul by 1980. He packed and sold-out concerts, his manager began to notice the amount of women of all races that packed out the seats and coined the idea of “women-only concerts” that still lives on today. His was the most popular R&B male artist next to Marvin Gaye and surpassing Barry White in his time.


Pendergrass left us with an amazing legacy in 2010. We still celebrate his life and what he did for all the lovers and sex symbols in the R&B game. Artists such as Kanye West, Tyrese Gibson, 9th Wonder and others have sampled his amazing work and will continue to do so. We will love Teddy Pendergrass forever and the light will never turn off in our hearts for him!

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