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Bernie Wilson, Baritone of the Blue Notes, Dead at 64

Gems / Redferns

Bernie Wilson, baritone singer of the legendary R&B group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, died this past Sunday at the age of 64.

Wilson was a founding member of the Blue Notes, who were one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the ’70s, best known for their hit ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now,’ and ‘The Love I Lost,’ which is credited as being one of the first disco records. Though Harold Melvin, who died in 1997, was given top billing, the group’s most popular member was Teddy Pendergrass, who passed away in January of 2010.

After their success in the ’70s, the Blue Notes became one of hip-hop’s most beloved soul groups, sampled by Big Boi, Raekwon, Jay-Z, Common and many more. Bernie Wilson continued to perform well into his 50s, and had plans to relaunch his career as a gospel singer in the near future. Unfortunately, this was not to be, as Wilson died Sunday at Kresson View Center in Voorhees, N.J., after suffering a stroke and heart attack, according to his cousin, Faith Peace-Mazzccua.

“Bernard was a very funny person. He should have been a comedian,” Peace-Mazzccua told the Associated Press. “He didn’t take no stuff and he loved people.”

Lloyd Parks remains the last surviving member of the Blue Notes.

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes – If You Don’t Know Me By Now

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