I have always had a soft spot for R&B and soul music from the late 60s and 70s. Some of the best songs of the last 50 years were written and sung by artists from that period and genre. There was real emotion and inspiration running through the music. Whether it was simple love songs or deeper social content, the songs were well crafted and the harmonies and melodies sublime. There were also very few computers and limited editing equipment to make up for a lack of ability. As a result, true talent rose to the surface. I can still remember waiting impatiently for Soul Train to come on and listen to some of my favorite bands and singers.
Art in its purest and best form has always been a unifying rather than divisive force. It makes people think and feel at a higher level. I was fairly young at the time but I did get the sense that some of societies long festering wounds were beginning to heal. In our musical preferences and our thoughts we started to become more colorblind and tolerant as a nation (although there is obviously much more work to do). Change was in the air. Many of the songwriters of this period were smart enough to tap into this vibe and engage larger audiences in a wider conversation.
Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes were a great band. The lead singer, Teddy Pendergrass, was a very special talent. His relatively short but brilliant career certainly left its mark on popular music. Regardless of your musical inclinations, it was hard not to stop, listen and appreciate whatever he was singing. “Wake Up Everybody“ is easily one of my top twenty songs of all time. Harold Melvin crafted a gem with this one. I often play it to start my day and inspire my children. The underlying message still rings true and I wish more people heeded the advice.
- Soul Serenade: Teddy Pendergrass, “Live In ’82″ (Win the DVD!) (popdose.com)
- Teddy Pendergrass Dies (popcrunch.com)
- Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: Wake Up Everybody (davidjmarkowitzmusic.wordpress.com)
- WCN Transmedia Music Memoriam “Teddy Pendergrass” (wcntransmedia.wordpress.com)
- “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension – Psychedelic Soul (musiccourt.wordpress.com)