Primary Wave Music has acquired a stake in the publishing, master recording income stream, and name and likeness of legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass.
As part of what Primary Wave calls a “multi-million-dollar deal”, the publisher says it will also work closely with the Pendergrass estate to ensure “Teddy’s legacy and help widen his brand and continue a long-term partnership to manage all assets moving forward”.
Primary Wave also says that the estate will now have access to its entire marketing team, digital team, publicity department, branding team, and publishing infrastructure, including licensing and synch opportunities.
The deal includes some of Teddy’s most significant hits across his 35-plus year career in music.
Songs have the Top 5 R&B classics Love T.K.O. and You’re My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration.
The partnership also encompasses several additional songs, including When Somebody Loves You Back and Close the Door – both off his sophomore album Life Is a Song Worth Singing.
Close the Door was released in 1978 and was a massive hit for Pendergrass. Upon release, the song spent two weeks at No.1 on the R&B chart, went on to be certified gold, and earned Pendergrass his first Grammy nomination in 1979 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
The song has been sampled over forty times in popular music by everyone from Mary. J. Blige to Keith Murray to 3LW.
The deal follows the recent news of Primary Wave buying stakes in the catalogs of TOTO drummer Jeff Porcaro for $30 million, Gerry Goffin for a reported $20 million, Bing Crosby in a reported $50 million+ deal, and Luther Vandross for $40 million.
“My husband was a legend, an icon, and I’m pleased about this partnership. I believe working with Primary Wave is just what the estate needs to help showcase Teddy’s rich legacy.”
Joan Pendergrass said: “My husband was a legend, an icon, and I’m pleased about this partnership. I believe working with Primary Wave is just what the estate needs to help showcase Teddy’s rich legacy.
“He’s an icon, and it’s essential that people know all he’s done, what he’s contributed to the music industry, and as a humanitarian. My husband was more than just a legendary musician; he was the first African American to create a jeans line.
“After his debilitating car accident, he withstood many personal challenges and, throughout the later part of his life, became a dedicated advocate for elevating the voices and lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries.
“I’m excited to see the fantastic projects and opportunities this partnership brings because what’s most important is amplifying my husband’s story and showcasing to the world the immense impact he had on multiple generations.”
“He has one of the most iconic voices in the history of music and his songs are timeless.”
Steven Greener, Primary Wave Music
Steven Greener, Partner at Primary Wave Music, added: “I have been a fan of Teddy for decades.
“He has one of the most iconic voices in the history of music and his songs are timeless.
“I am thrilled Primary Wave has partnered with the estate and look forward to working with them to ensure his legacy lives on.”
Born on March 26, 1950, Teddy Pendergrass started singing gospel music in Philadelphia churches very young.
A self-taught drummer, Pendergrass began a teen pop vocal group when he was just 15 and, by his late teens, would become a drummer for a local vocal group called the Cadillacs.
In the late ‘60s, the Cadillacs merged with another established group called Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. In 1970, Pendergrass would take over lead vocals for the group, and shortly after, they would sign to Philadelphia International Records.
Around 1976, Pendergrass would leave the group in favor of a solo career and signed a new contract with Philadelphia International Records in late 1976, early 1977.
He burst on the scene with the release of his self-titled debut album. Teddy Pendergrass would go on to be certified platinum and include the hit singles I Don’t Love You Anymore, You Can’t Hide from Yourself, and The More I Get, the More I Want.
His following three albums – Life Is a Song Worth Singing, Teddy, and Teddy Live (Coast to Coast) – would be certified gold or platinum.
Throughout his career, Teddy received several Grammy nominations and won the American Music Award for best R&B performer of 1978 and multiple awards from Ebony Magazine and the NAACP.
In the ‘80s, Pendergrass kept racking up the hits. His fifth album, TP, went platinum.
A 1982 car accident would leave Pendergrass paralyzed and wheelchair-dependent, but after years of physical therapy and counseling, Teddy returned to the recording scene.
In 1983, he signed with Elektra/Aslyum and released Love Language in the spring of 1984.
The album would be certified gold shortly after. Aside from a ceremony in 2007 honoring the legend, Pendergrass spent his later years out of the spotlight.
Teddy Pendergrass died at the age of 59 on January 13, 2010.Music Business Worldwide