rhythm & blues
R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass passed away earlier this week after a long illness. Pendergrass, 59, got his start singing gospel music in Philadelphia churches, and later became a drummer for a local group called the Cadillacs. After merging with another more well known group, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, he became their lead singer in 1970. He later left the group and struck out on a solo career after signing with Philadelphia International Records - where his next several albums went gold and platinum. During this time he received several Grammy nominations, 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. A tragic car accident in 1982 left him paralyzed from the waist down. He made a dramatic return to the stage at the Live Aid concert in 1985, and in 1998 he founded Teddy Pendergrass Alliance to aid people with spinal cord injuries.