Theodore DeReese (Teddy) Pendergrass, Sr. (born March 26 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American soul singer. He was born to Ida Geraldine Epps and the late Jesse Pendergrass. Teddy got his start singing gospel in the church, where he was ordained a minister at the age of 10, and doo wop tunes on the street corners in North Philadelphia where he grew up.
Pendergrass' career began when he was a drummer for The Cadillacs, which soon merged with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Melvin invited Pendergrass to become the lead singer after jumping from the rear of a stage and started singing his heart out. Months later the group signed with Gamble & Huff on the then CBS subsidiary Philadelphia International Records in 1972. The Blue Notes had hits such as "I Miss You", "Bad Luck", "Wake Up Everybody", and many more. Followed by personality conflicts between Melvin and Pendergrass and a brief stint with Teddy leading a group of Blue Notes, Pendergrass launched a solo career and released hit singles like "The More I Get the More I Want", "Close The Door", "I Don't Love You Anymore", "Turn Out The Lights", and more. Pendergrass was the first African-American singer to sell five platinum albums in a row. He also began his practice of ladies-only concerts, for which he remains well-known. On March 18th 1982, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pendergrass was involved in an automobile accident when the brakes failed on his Rolls-Royce and his car hit a tree leaving him paralyzed from the chest down with a spinal cord injury. He spent six months in rehabilitation. After completing physical therapy, he returned to public appearances on July 13, 1985 at the historic Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, then continued to record throughout the 1980s and 90s. Pendergrass has published a biography entitled 'Truly Blessed' with Patricia Romanowski.