Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Gift of Life Closes the Door


The man who brought us lyrics such as: I don't know the last time I told you/ But girl, you make me so very happy, is no more. Teddy Pendergrass. His death or rather its coverage overshadowed by the natural disaster in Haiti, which is no small event either because of the thousands of lives lost and the suffering Haitians are enduring right now.

I feel like little by little the soundtrack to my childhood is being erased. First Mike, now TP, who's next...? This man was incredibly smooth, from his voice to his sense of dress he had it all. If you don't believe me just take a look at his album covers. The man always put in work when it came to his image, to ensure he was well presented. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the cover of the 'Joy' album, where he is dressed in a black raglan collared sweater, with tiny sequins and leather patches. I thought he looked cool. But, what transcended all of the aforementioned characteristics were his voice, his sound and his lyrics. Gamble and Huff, his producers for a long period at TSOP, get my nod as one of the greatest production teams of all time.

Teddy Bear, as he was also affectionately known, with this trademark silky smooth, warm voice had a long career even after suffering paralysis from the waist down after a car accident. 'In my Time' is a song that, for me, stands out and is a mark for certain memories from my childhood. I also remember T.P in a wheelchair in the video for the same song. I know it sounds like I'm discussing the man's misfortunes and bad luck instead of his great music and inimitable sense of style. I digress.




In terms of style, dress and presentation TP was the complete package. One cannot even miss his well groomed beard and hair. On stage, from a video I've seen, he had the whole band dressed in tuxedos thus extending his sense of dress to other professionals around him.



This can be described as quirky in music terms. A mixture of tan and black. Teddy made it work too.



His trademark full beard and hair was maintained throughout his music career and life. Now that's what I call well groomed.



The man representing in a trench and scarf a far cry from the white jump suit he would sport at his 'For women only concerts'.




This image is taken from his 1981 release 'It's time for love'. The pose, the unbuttoned white shirt and pants, the black belt matching with the sole of his shoes, the full beard and hair never out of place BUT what tops the whole thing off has got to be those white cowboy boots.




A man of style, not only well groomed but immaculately tailored as well.





Some of my favourite songs by TP are 'Close the door', 'Is it still good to ya', 'This gift of life', the list is endless.








Rest in peace Teddy.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

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