Theodore DeReese Teddy Pendergrass, Sr. 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 he jumped 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, the two million seller If You Don't Know Me By Now and many more. Following personality conflicts between Melvin and Pendergrass, 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 Off the Lights and others.
His first solo album was self titled Teddy Pendergrass (1977), followed by Life is a Song Worth Singing (1978), Live Coast to Coast and Teddy (1979), 1980's TP and the final Philadelphia International Records album It's Time for Love (1981). He also sang a duet with Whitney Houston on Hold Me, from her self-titled debut album.
The singer received 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.