Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes were an American singing group, one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. The group's repertoire included soul, R&B, doo-wop, and disco. Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 1950s as The Charlemagnes, the group is most noted for several hits on Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International label between 1972 and 1976, although they performed and recorded until Melvin's death in 1997. Despite group founder and original lead singer Harold Melvin's top billing, the Blue Notes' most famous member was Teddy Pendergrass, their lead singer during the success years at Philadelphia International.
In 1970, the group recruited drummer Teddy Pendergrass as the drummer for their backing band. Pendergrass had been a former member of The Cadillacs, and was promoted to lead singer when John Atkins quit the group the same year.
Despite success, the Blue Notes' lineup continued to change regularly. In 1974, Melvin Brought in Jerry Cummings to replace Lloyd Parks, and female singer Sharon Paige was added to the lineup. While at the top of their success in 1976, Pendergrass quit the Blue Notes, after unsuccessfully lobbying to have Melvin rename the act "Teddy Pendergrass & the Blue Notes". Pendergrass went on to a successful solo career, cut short by a paralyzing 1982 car accident, although he made a brief comeback at the historic Live Aid concert in 1985.
Gil Saunders took the lead position in 1982, replacing David Ebo. With Saunders, the group had success in the United Kingdom with the album Talk It Up (Tell Everybody), and singles such as "Today's Your Lucky Day" and "Don't Give Me Up". The album did well and is still selling in the UK and the US. Several of the Pendergrass-era hits were re-recorded in England with Gil Saunders on lead. Saunders left the act in 1992, and Harold 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 fifty-seven. Brown died on April 6, 2008 at the age of sixty-three of a respiratory condition.
For his album This Note's for You, singer Neil Young named his back-up band The Blue Notes without permission from name rights holder Harold Melvin. Melvin took legal action against Young over use of the Blue Notes name, forcing the singer to change the name of the back-up band to "Ten Men Workin'" during the balance of the tour that promoted the This Note's for You album.
|US Hot 100||US R&B||UK|
|1960||"My Hero" (as The Blue Notes)||78||19||-|
|1965||"Get Out (And Let Me Cry)"||-||38||-|
|1972||"I Miss You (Pt. 1)"||58||7||-|
|"If You Don't Know Me by Now"||3||1||9|
|1973||"Yesterday I Had the Blues"||63||12||-|
|"The Love I Lost (Pt. 1)"||7||1||21|
|1974||"Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Take Your Love Back)"||58||6||32|
|"I'm Weak for You"||-||87||-|
|"Where Are All My Friends"||80||8||-|
|1975||"Bad Luck (Pt. 1)"||15||4||-|
|"Get Out (And Let Me Cry)" (re-release)||-||-||35|
|"Hope That We Can Be Together Soon"|
(with Sharon Paige)
|"Wake Up Everybody (Pt. 1)"||12||1||23|
|"Don't Leave Me This Way"||-||-||5|
|1976||"Tell the World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby"||94||7||-|
|1977||"Reaching for the World"||74||6||48|
|"After You Love Me, Why Do You Leave Me"|
(with Sharon Paige)
|1978||"Baby, You Got My Nose Open"||-||36||-|
|"I Should Be Your Lover"||-||25||-|
|"Tonight's the Night"||-||61||-|
|1981||"Hang On in There"||-||52||-|
|1984||"Don't Give Me Up"||-||-||59|
|"Today's Your Lucky Day"||-||81||66|
|"I Really Love You"||-||81||-|
Culture: Dedication Rolls in on a High Note; Band Leaders Join Together to Celebrate the Music of South Africa's Famed Blue Notes Band. Martin Longley Reports
Mar 21, 2003; Byline: Martin Longley On Sunday night, The Dedication Orchestra rumbles into town, offering one of the year's most tantalising...