Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes were an American singing group, one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. The group's repertoire included soul, R&B, doo-wop, and disco. Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 1950s as The Charlemagnes, the group is most noted for several hits on Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International label between 1972 and 1976, although they performed and recorded until Melvin's death in 1997. Despite group founder and original lead singer Harold Melvin's top billing, the Blue Notes' most famous member was Teddy Pendergrass, their lead singer during the successful years at Philadelphia International.
The group formerly known as The Charlemagnes took on the name "The Blue Notes" in 1954, with a lineup consisting of lead singer Harold Melvin (born June 25, 1939 in Philadelphia, died March 24, 1997), Bernard Williams, Roosevelt Brodie, Jesse Gillis, Jr., and Franklin Peaker. The group recorded for a number of labels without success from its inception into the 1960s. The 1960 single "My Hero" was a minor hit for Val-ue Records, and 1965's "Get Out (and Let Me Cry)" was an R&B hit for Landa Records. During this period, the group's lineup changed frequently, with Bernard Williams leaving the act to start a group called "The Original Blue Notes", and Harold Melvin bringing in new lead singer John Atkins.
In 1970, the group recruited Teddy Pendergrass as the drummer for their backing band. Pendergrass had been a former member of The Cadillacs, and was promoted to lead singer when John Atkins quit the group the same year.