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May 052016

Harold MelvinMarch 24, 1997 – Harold Melvin (The Blue Notes)  was born on June 25, 1939 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He became one of the driving forces behind Philadelphia soul, leading his group the Blue Notes. The group formerly known as The Charlemagnes took on the name “The Blue Notes” in 1954, with a lineup consisting of Harold as lead singer, Bernard Wilson, Roosevelt Brodie, Jesse Gillis, Jr., and Franklin Peaker.

The 1960 single “My Hero” was a minor hit and 1965’s “Get Out (and Let Me Cry)” was an R&B hit.

In 1970, Harold recruited Teddy Pendergrass as the drummer for his backing band. When that same year Teddy took over as lead singer from John Atkins, he became the undeniable superstar of the group, until his departure and subsequent death. The group had a string of hits “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, “I Miss You”, “The Love I Lost”, and “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, and socially conscious songs such as “Wake Up Everybody” and “Bad Luck” which holds the record for longest-running number-one hit on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. (eleven weeks).

After Pendergrass left in 1976 for a solo career, Melvin continued to tour with various lineups of Blue Notes until suffering a stroke in 1996. Melvin died on March 24, 1997 at the age of 57. Lawrence Brown died of a respiratory condition on April 6, 2008 at age 63. In addition, three former members of the group would die during the year 2010. First, Teddy Pendergrass died of respiratory failure on January 13, 2010 at age 59, after having previously dealt with colon cancer. Six months later, original member Roosevelt Brodie, who was the second tenor for the original Blue Notes, died July 13, 2010 at age 75 due to complications of diabetes. And just five months later in that year, Bernard Wilson died on December 26, 2010 at age 64 from complications of a stroke and a heart attack. Pendergrass’ predecessor, John Atkins, died of an aneurysm in 1998. David Ebo, who succeeded Pendergrass, died of bone cancer on November 30, 1993 at age 43. Lloyd Parks is still living and is the sole survivor of the original Blue Notes.