Happy Birthday to Lloyd Parks of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

(August 18, 2020) Today we wish a very happy birthday to Lloyd Parks, the last remaining member of the classic 1970s lineup of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

The first tenor and falsetto singer for the group, Parks was an important part of all of the biggest hits for the Philly stars, including “Wake Up Everybody,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” and “Bad Luck.” Parks first came to the music world's attention as a founding member of the vocal group The Epsilons, with future Philly stars Gene McFadden and John Whitehead. They served as backup vocalists for soul hitmaker Arthur Conley in the late 60s, and had their own releases, too.

(August 18, 2020) Today we wish a very happy birthday to Lloyd Parks, the last remaining member of the classic 1970s lineup of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

The first tenor and falsetto singer for the group, Parks was an important part of all of the biggest hits for the Philly stars, including “Wake Up Everybody,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” and “Bad Luck.” Parks first came to the music world's attention as a founding member of the vocal group The Epsilons, with future Philly stars Gene McFadden and John Whitehead. They served as backup vocalists for soul hitmaker Arthur Conley in the late 60s, and had their own releases, too.

Parks joined Harold Melvin and this group The Blue Notes just as that act teamed with blazing hot songwriters/producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and their Philadelphia International Records label. The timing was perfect, as that pairing brought immediate success. The group scored on two smash ballads in 1972, "I Miss You" (later covered by David Ruffin) and the now classic "If You Don't Know Me By Now" (later taken to #1 by Simply Red).  With the latter release, group drummer Teddy Pendergrass emerged as one of the bright young stars of Soul Music, with his distinctive sexy, growling voice ripping through Gamble & Huff's highly orchestrated, sophisticated material.  1973 brought the group its first dance hit, "The Love I Lost," and another smash album. 

By 1975's "Wake Up Everybody" and "Bad Luck," Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes were Soul Music royalty, on par with the O'Jays and the Stylistics.  However, it appeared incongruent that the group name continued to spotlight Melvin while the vocal and visual highlight was the handsome lead singer, Pendergrass.  The issue came to a head in 1976, and Pendergrass left the group for what would be a very successful solo career.  Gamble & Huff stuck with Pendergrass the solo artist, and the Blue Notes were soon off to MCA Records to try and recover from the loss of their lead singer. 

The group's first post-Pendergrass album, Reaching For The World was clearly structured to sound like their work on PIR, but neither the material nor new lead singer David Ebo could match the Gamble & Huff/Pendergrass combination, and the title cut barely snuck into the Soul top 10.  It was the group's last hit. 

Parks ultimately formed another version of The Blue Notes and recorded the song “Disco Explosion” with minor success in the late 70s. He continued to tour with his group in spurts in the 1980s and 90s. Today, he is the final living member of the classic lineup of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes that rocked the charts in the 1970s.

 
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