R&B Crooner Teddy Pendergrass and Memphis based punk rocker Jay Reatard both passed away yesterday.
Pendergrass succumbed to colon cancer after battling the affliction for the past year. Pendergrass rose to fame in the 70’s as a soul man known for his gravely voice and incredible sex appeal. Pendergrass debuted as a drummer for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes before splitting with the band to start a solo career in which he would record ten Platinum albums. In 1982, Pendergrass was confined to a wheelchair after a car accident left him paralyzed. Despite his handicap, he continued to make music and started a foundation for people with spinal damage. He was 59.
Jay Reatard was found dead this morning after apparently passing away in his sleep. He was 29 years old. Reatard was a prolific artist who had played on over 20 albums; his most recent “Watch me Fall” was released on Matador in August. Though talented, Reatard was obviously troubled; last summer I saw him perform at Stuyvesant Town where he played for 25 minutes before bizarrely storming offstage. That anecdote doesn’t compare however to some of Reatard’s more jarring behavior including the time he punched a rowdy fan full power before wandering off alone at one of his shows. Reatard will leave behind a huge catalog; his output is extremely impressive for someone who died so young.