Teddy Pendergrass with Whitney Houston - "Hold Me"
from the albums Love Language (1984) and Whitney Houston (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #46
This week's "robbed hit" is by soul singer Teddy Pendergrass, who started his career as the drummer for the doo-wop group the Cadillacs, before joining up with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, where as lead singer he topped the R&B chart four times, including two top-10 pop hits with "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and "The Love I Lost".
Teddy left the Blue Notes in 1977, and that same year scored his first top-10 solo R&B and dance hit "I Don't Love You Anymore". That single peaked at the most frustrating of ranks, #41, but by the following year he placed his first top-40 pop hit with hit first chart-topping R&B single, "Close The Door". After that came six more top-10 R&B singles by the time 1984 rolled around. But in that time, Teddy became a paraplegic from a car accident, and since then he was wheelchair-bound.
In 1984 Pendergrass released his ninth album, Love Language. The first single released from the set featured a then-unkown singer named Whitney Houston, whose mother Cissy also sang on the album. The record, a ballad written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed entitled "Hold Me", was able to revive Teddy's career after a couple of relatively less successful albums...
"Hold Me" became Teddy's first top-10 R&B single since his accident, reaching #5 on the chart, while also going top-10 on the adult-contemporary format as well. But despite spending an amazing 18 weeks on the pop chart, the single stalled out at #46. It did the same across the ocean, stopping at #44 in the UK. However it did provide a great springboard for Whitney's debut album the following year (which this song appeared on), and there was no looking back for her.
As for Teddy, he went to the R&B top-ten four more times, and hit #1 in 1988 with "Joy" (his final dance hit at #42) and again in 1991 with "It Should Have Been You". The year before the latter, he had his last top-40 adult contemporary hit with his remake of Bread's "Make It With You". "Don't Waste My Time" became his last Hot 100 appearance (#90) and top-40 R&B hit (#39) in 1997, and it's followup "Give It To Me" was his last ink on the soul chart that same year, reaching #57.
In 2010, sadly, Teddy passed away from respiratory failure, but his legacy of a classic soul singer will continue.
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"Hold Me" was initially recorded by Diana Ross on her album Silk Electric as "In Your Arms"...
Up next week: New Jersey boy was unrecognizable then.