PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) — Harold Melvin, whose silky voice helped create the Philly doo-wop sound, died Monday of the long-term effects of a stroke he suffered last year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday. He was 57.
Although Melvin was the organizer and lead singer of the Blue Notes, his best-known accomplishment was discov-ering the talent of Teddy Pendergrass, a drummer he turned into his lead singer.
The group had several hits in the 1960s, but was better known for its ’70s output. Among those hits were “The Love I Lost,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and “Wake Up Everybody.”
As exemplified by “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” the Blue Notes were backed by an orchestral sound but relied heavily on the strength of lead singer Pendergrass’ raw emotion. The group’s fortunes declined after Pendergrass left in 1975 for a solo career.
The Blue Notes remained popular overseas, however. Melvin was preparing for a tour in Japan when he suffered a stroke in July.
Family members told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Melvin spent his last weeks at home in bed enjoying tapes of his old hits and TV appearances.