Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes will be performing live on August 1st at the Jefferson Center
About Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes
Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes were another charismatic Philly band whose roots dated backto long before their leap into stardom during the 70 s. Behind lead singer Melvin, and theimmensely popular Teddy Pendergrass, the group enjoyed the same tremendous success as theircontemporaries featured on the 70 s Soul Jam Tour.
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes were formed by Melvin in Philadelphia in 1954, and notsurprisingly, they would endure a long road characterized of modest success before reachingnational stardom. The group, which featured Melvin, Donald Broody, and Bernard Williams,signed with the small, New York-based Josie Records in 1954. In 1960 under the Valley Vuelabel, they went onto record their first hit to reach the R&B charts with the single My Hero .In 1970, it was the apparently unassuming addition of Pendergrass as their drummer that set off aseries of pivotal events that led to the group s jump into national prominence. In 1972, the groupcollaborated with producers/songwriters Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble, the same duo thatworked with the distinguished soul band, The O Jays, and signed with their PhiladelphiaInternational label. Melvin and Gamble & Huff agreed Pendergrass was best suited in the role oflead singer, a decision that would prove to be ingenious in the coming years.With Pendergrass in his new role and Gamble & Huff s influence, Harold Melvin and The BlueNotes reeled off a series of hits off of their 1973 self-titled album, including If You Don t KnowMe By Now , and The Love I Lost , which reached No. 3 and No. 7 on the Billboard popcharts respectively. The new-look lineup featured Pendergrass ss refreshingly emotional vocalson ballads, which truly appealed to the masses. Their success continued in 1975, with their ToBe True album.
They released three Top 40 R&B hits off the album, Where Are All My Friends , the No. 15Billboard pop song, Bad Luck and the No. 1 R&B single, Hope That We Can Be TogetherSoon , which was a silky smooth duet that featured Melvin and R&B singer and current groupmember Sharon Paige.
In 1975, the group released another smash-hit album entitled, Wake Up Everybody , whichfeatured only two singles, including the title track, and uplifting, socially motivated number thatreached No.12 on the Billboard Pop Charts. Wake Up Everybody , turned out to bePendergrass sss final album with the group, as he went on to pursue a successful career. Still,the group responded with their 1977 hit single, Reaching for the World , with David Ebbo astheir new lead singer, who sounded strikingly similar to Pendergrass. The song climbed to No. 6on the Billboard R&B Charts.
The group went onto release seven more albums, including four compilation albums, but moresignificant was their role as one of the three original featured bands on the 70 s Soul Jam tour in1986. Unfortunately the man most responsible for their success Harold Melvin, died in 1997 buthis spirit and legacy lives on, as the group which now consists of Donnell Gillespie, RufusThorn, Anthony Brooks, John Morris and features Sharon Paige, continue to tour and dazzlecrowds with the same array of groovy rhythms and soulful ballads that was the foundation for ayoung, ambitious Philadelphia soul band in 1954.
An Afternoon With DR. WORNIE REED
“And All That Jazz”
Photo Essay on Jazz,
R&B and Gospel Music
Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, and Director of
the Center for Race and Social Policy Research at Virginia Tech
The HARRISON MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE at the CENTER IN THE SQUARE
Presents an Afternoon with
“THE AFRICAN DIASPORA”
Sunday, April 6, 2014
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Harrison Museum, Center in the Square, 2nd
Reception following the lecture “to meet and greet”
Mrs. Klein-Davis in the Harrison Museum’s Lobby Floor