Harold Melvin formed the Blue Notes in 1954. Recording for a variety of labels, they had minor R&B hits during the next decade.
In 1971, the outfit – now renamed Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes – signed with the nascent Philadelphia International label, led by innovative producers/songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
With drummer Teddy Pendergrass anchoring their sound with his virile vocals, the group had major hits with If You Don’t Know Me By Now, The Love I Lost, Wake Up Everybody and Hope That We Can Be Together Soon, all of which reached the top of the R&B charts.
Other classics include Bad Luck, I Miss You and Where Are All My Friends?
Along with The O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes became one of the flagship acts of the Gamble and Huff empire.
Even after Pendergrass left for a solo career in 1976, the group persevered. Switching to ABC Records with new lead singer David Ebo in tow, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes quickly scored with the 1977 R&B hit Reaching For The World, but their renewed chart success was to be short-lived.
The group continued touring into the 1990s until Melvin’s health started to fail.
After suffering from a vascular disease and a series of strokes, Melvin died on 24 March 1997 in his native Philadelphia.