Bernie Wilson, baritone vocalist in the classic lineup of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, died early yesterday from undisclosed medical complications at Kresson View Center in Voorhees, NJ, Philadelphia International Records has announced.
Wilson joined Melvin, Teddy Pendergrass, Lawrence Brown and Lloyd Parks in the world-renowned lineup that was signed to Philadelphia International Records in 1972, the beginning of a four-year string of hits for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes that were integral in defining the Sound of Philadelphia.
They became one of the most popular groups in R&B during that era, with recordings that ranged from sweeping, extended proto-disco dance tracks to silky, smoldering ballads, all wrapped up in the lushly orchestrated production that had become the legendary signature of Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff.
The group made their chart debut with “I Miss You,” then continued with a Grammy nomination for their first #1 R&B hit, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.” More #1 hits followed, with “The Love I Lost,” and “Wake Up Everybody.” Other Blues Notes classics during that time include “Bad Luck” (#4 R&B; #1 Dance) and “Don’t Leave Me This Way.”
The passing of Wilson leaves Lloyd Parks as the sole surviving member of the classic lineup of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.
Philadelphia International Records sends its condolences to the Wilson family.
Funeral arrangements are pending.