International Pop is in town—celebrate with us at A Pop Party. This bold and bright event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Young Friends. Look forward to music by DJ Gillian Sagansky and Zem Audu, an open bar, and a retro-chic feel. Come with us around the world and back again in one night, Saturday, Feb. 27. Get your ticket now.

“Salads, Sandwiches, and Desserts,” 1962, by Wayne Thiebaud (Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, NAA-Thomas C. Woods Memorial) © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

You Can't Hide from Yourself
  • You Can't Hide from Yourself
  • Teddy Pendergrass
  • Teddy Pendergrass

500 Favorites, #014: Teddy Pendergrass, “You Can’t Hide from Yourself”

(from Teddy Pendergrass, 1977)

“I like dudes with masculine voices, like Teddy Pendergrass,” says Eddie Murphy, pacing the stage in the midst of Delirious. The women in the audience go crazy at the mention of his name – then they crack up when Eddie busts into a brief, amped up rendition of the first verse to Life Is a Song Worth Singing highlight “Only You” (“yougotyougotyougotwhatIneeeed”) and claims that kind of performance from Teddy would “scare bitches into liking him.” It’s a short little joke on its own, snuck in between his famous, amazing impersonations of Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, but whenever standup approaches music criticism I tend to pay attention. Still, what I like about Pendergrass and that “scary” aspect of his voice has little to do with how he uses it in love songs. Most of my favorite Pendergrass performances of that type, whether solo or with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, use that big, molten-core-of-the-earth voice to get at something else – anguish and frustration so deeply felt that the only way to get a grip on it is to turn it into a musical catharsis. “The Love I Lost”, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, “Bad Luck”, “Where Are All My Friends”, “I Miss You,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, “The Whole Town’s Laughing at Me” – these are the kinds of songs that define Pendergrass as an artist for me, and the leadoff cut from his solo debut is a stunning example, too.

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The album’s lead single was “Put Your Hands Together,” a song urging cooperation and optimistic prayer for “a better day to come.” Rickey Vincent, author of Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One, describes the song as “fairly standard musically”, “with a strong gospel feel.” The second single, “For the Love of Money,” is a protest against materialism with a groove that Rolling Stone described as “downright orgiastic”.The song was written around a bass line composed by Anthony Jackson,which in 2005 Bass Player Magazine described as “landmark.”

All songs written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, except where noted. Side one “Put Your Hands Together” – 4:07 “Ship Ahoy” – 9:41 “This Air I Breathe” (Gamble, Bunny Sigler) – 3:53 “You Got Your Hooks in Me” (Sigler) – 5:34 Side two “For the Love of Money” (Gamble, Huff, Anthony Jackson)– 7:19 “Now That We Found Love” – 4:41 “Don’t Call Me Brother” (Gamble, Sigler) – 8:58 “People Keep Tellin’ Me” (John Whitehead, Gene McFadden, Victor Carstarphen) – 4:00

Pop art was a truly global phenomenon. In Brazil, artist Wanda Pimentel instilled sexuality and mystery into bright graphic works that she titled her “Involved” series. To learn more visit International Pop.

“Untitled—Série Evolvimento (Untitled—Involvement Series)” 1968, by Wanda Pimentel (Lili and João Avelar Collection. Courtesy of the artist)