Neal PrestonThe Teddy Pendergrass documentary If You Don’t Know Me, will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand August 23.
The story of the five-time Grammy nominee features archival footage and new interviews with Pendergrass’ family, friends and colleagues. Among them are legendary songwriters and producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the founders of Philadelphia Internationals Records, who were behind many of his hits.
“This is an extraordinary, human story that feels almost Shakespearian,” says director Olivia Lichtenstein. “It’s much more than just a music biopic: It’s an intimate portrait both of Teddy and of the extraordinary times in which he lived. We really get to know him because we hear from so many people who were close to him.”
The doc explores the life and career of the late, great vocalist, who was the first male African-American artist to release four consecutive platinum albums. It also follows his comeback after a near-fatal 1982 car accident at age 31 that left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Pendergrass rose to fame in the 70s as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notesbefore achieving stardom as a solo artist.
His many solo hits include “Close the Door,” “Turn Off the Lights,” and “Love T.K.O.”
In 1985, three years after his car accident, Teddy released the duet “Hold Me” with Whitney Houston. It hit number five on the Billboard R&B chart, and was also included on Houston’s self-titled debut album, which was certified 13-times platinum.
Pendergrass, who eventually retired in 2007, died in 2010 of respiratory failure at the age 59.
As previously reported, Tyrese will portray the Philadelphia singer in a biopic being produced by Lee Daniels.
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