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Baritone singer Bernie Wilson of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes dies at 64

Bernie Wilson, baritone member of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the rhythm and blues group that produced the 1972 hit "If You Don't Know Me by Now," has died. He was 64.

Wilson died early Sunday at Kresson View Center in Voorhees, N.J., following a stroke and a heart attack, his cousin, Faith Peace-Mazzccua, said Monday.

Philadelphia International Records, the former record company for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, said Wilson's death leaves Lloyd Parks as the sole surviving member of the group's lineup at the time. The lineup also featured Teddy Pendergrass and Lawrence Brown.

The group produced a string of R&B hits in the '70s and helped define the Sound of Philadelphia.

"If You Don't Know Me by Now" topped the R&B charts and made the top five on the pop charts. The hits that followed included "I Miss You," ''Bad Luck," ''Wake Up Everybody," and the dance track "The Love I Lost," which has been credited as one of the first disco records, according to an All Music Guide biography on the Billboard website.

"He left home at 16 as a pauper and came back home a millionaire," Peace-Mazzccua told the Associated Press.

She said her cousin kept performing until a few years ago and hoped to return and sing gospel music.

-- Associated Press

 
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