Sunday, July 11, 2021

"Joy" by Teddy Pendergrass

Song#:  3549
Date:  06/18/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  77
Weeks:  6
Genre:  R&B, Soul

Pop Bits:  Pendergrass' official comeback album following the '82 car crash that left him paralyzed, Love Language, became a gold seller thanks to the #5 R&B/#46 hit "Hold Me," which featured a then-unknown Whitney Houston. A follow-up album, Workin' It Back, didn't sell as well despite featuring the #6 R&B hit "Love 4/2." To keep relevant, the soul superstar needed to update his sound a bit and so he was connected up with the Calloway brothers of Midnight Star who had been having success writing and producing for other artists like The Whispers and Klymaxx. The pair would work with Pendergrass on a couple of songs for his tenth studio album, which included this title track and first single. The tune would be a big hit at R&B becoming Pendergrass' second career #1. That action helped the song cross over to the Pop chart, but it only hung around in the bottom quarter for a few weeks. It also got to #42 Dance. A second single, "2 A.M.," would get to #3 R&B, but fail to reach the Pop chart. The pair of hits helped the album get to #2 R&B and #54 Pop. It would become a gold seller. "Joy" would earn Pendergrass a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male.

ReduxReview:  The Calloway's did a solid job for Pendergrass. They set him up with a fresh R&B groove and production that was in-step with the current trends in music, yet didn't stray too far from Pendergrass' sound. Pendergrass sounded comfortable and terrific as usual. While the song was a good fit for R&B, it wasn't necessarily the right song for pop radio, which usually demanded a more pronounced and hooky chorus. Still, enough fans showed up to make the album his last gold seller.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Pendergrass would continue to record and his next LP would spawn his third and final R&B #1, 1991's "It Should've Been You." The hits would taper off after that. In 1997, he would record his last regular studio album, You and I. A single from the LP, "Don't Keep Wastin' My Time," would be his last to reach the Pop chart at #90 (#39 R&B). Its follow-up would be his last single to make the R&B chart. His final album would be a 2002 live concert recording titled From Teddy, With Love (#63 R&B). Along the way, he would earn two more Grammy nominations bringing his total to five. He continued to perform until 2006 when he decided to retired from the business. After a 2009 surgery for colon cancer, Pendergrass would develop respiratory issues. Seven months later he would pass away.


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