Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes
Originally founded by Philly pianist/doo wop singer Harold Melvin in 1954, The Blue Notes went through a series of under-appreciated singles and multiple lineup changes before they established their own sound. The group's first hit, "My Hero," graced the charts in 1960, but it would be five years before they scored another. Things picked up dramatically in 1970, when their drummer Teddy Pendergrass became the lead singer, which led to a deal with Gamble & Huff's famed soul label, Philadelphia International. With the legendary songwriter/producers, the group soon became one of the era's most popular and successful outfits, releasing classic romantically-minded singles like "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and "Tell the World How I Fell About ÃÂCha Baby." Their lush instrumentation, smooth balladry, and stylish image combined to make them chart-topping superstars. By 1976, Pendergrass left the band over billing disputes and embarked on a solo career. Meanwhile, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, with David Ebbo as replacement singer, bounced over to ABC Records and released their last substantial hit, Reaching for the World. Two more albums came out in the early eighties, but they never again reached the commercial success of their heyday.