TEDDY PENDERGRASS & HAROLD MELVIN ALTERCATION:
Teddy Pendergrass reveals in his book, “Truly Blessed,” that the Blue Notes were barely making it on the road financially with the exception of Harold Melvin (above, center).
‘Harold fancied himself something of a jet-setter and he took great pleasure in hosting parties at his hotel suites and playing the big shot. One night Harold was entertaining some people I’d never met before. They were white folks and by the way Harold acted around them you could tell they were important, at least to him.
We were hanging out, drinking and snorting a little cocaine. Everything seemed fine. Exactly what happened, I’ll never know but the upshot is that one of the guys told Harold that I had behaved disrespectfully toward him. Either I didn’t answer this guy when he spoke to me or I said something he took the wrong way.
Whatever it was, Harold, who had a temper, got furious. Out of the blue he slapped me. “Say what?” It took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on. “What the hell.” Harold said nothing but he glared at me with his cold, dark eyes. “What did you say to him? You insulted my friend. Don’t you ever insult my friends like that again,” he hissed.
Rage surged through my body like a jolt of electricity. The same instincts that kept me alive on the streets of Philly locked in. My muscles tensed, my heart raced, my jaw clenched. I was ready to whip his ass. Nobody had slapped me since I was a kid. Then as quickly as the rage came over me, I stopped myself.
I was smart enough to realize that if I’d struck Harold right then, I’d have hurt him and found myself in very serious trouble. I looked Harold straight in the eye and growled, “Don’t you ever think about putting your hands on me again! Not ever again!” Harold stepped back and we left it at that.