Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wake Up Everybody

As some of you may know, Teddy Pendergrass was the lead singer for Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes on such classics as "If You Don't Know Me By Now", "The Love I Lost" & "Wake Up Everybody".

When he left the group to go solo, seeing Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes without Pendergrass is like going to see the Cleveland Cavs after Lebron moves on to the Brooklyn Nets.

But people went to the concerts, and some had to be disappointed.

Big lesson: because a lot of the great old -time r & b groups have undergone lineup changes, you have to read the small print. You might think you are seeing Gladys Knight & The Pips, but the marquee may say "Gladys Knight & Her Pops". The Four Tops may show up with three guys. The Temptations have had more lineup changes than the 2009 Mets. The O'Jays could have a white guy sing the lead on "Backstabbers". And on & on.

Sometimes the real group you want to see is led by the former lead singer who doesn't have the legal right to use the old group name. Case in point, the great Russell Thompkins Jr. used to be the lead singer of the Stylistics. Legally, he can't use "The Stylistics" name, so he tours as "Russell Thompkins Jr. & the New Stylistics".

Know what you are getting.

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