Teddy Pendergrass’ final studio album and the sole holiday LP in his discography is headed to digital streaming platforms this November.
This Christmas (I’d Rather Have Love) will make its digital debut on Nov. 3 for its 25th anniversary. The infectious album is a soulful blend of the late crooner’s original recordings—“Happy Kwanzaa,” “I Won’t Have Christmas,” “Christmas and You”—and the album’s title track, “This Christmas (I’d Rather Have Love).” It also includes his unique spin on holiday classics like “Little Drummer Boy,” “Oh Holy Night,” “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” and “The Christmas Song.”
To celebrate the announcement, Craft Recordings has already made Pendergrass’ rendition of “Joy to the World” available (listen below).
The Philly native wrote his first and only Christmas album on the heels of his starring role in the gospel musical, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, and it arrived just before he published his memoir, Truly Blessed. On This Christmas (I’d Rather Have Love), Pendergrass worked with Grammy-winning songwriter-producer Reggie Calloway and songwriter/producer Jim Salamone.
“What a thrill to realize that Teddy’s album is being re-released! So many great memories are attached to the creation of this timeless work,” Salamone shared in a statement about the digital release. “It will be very satisfying for people to be able to enjoy this record every Holiday season.” Daniel Markus, Pendergrass’s co-manager added, “Teddy was very proud of this album. He put it all together himself with some help from the Calloway Brothers (of Midnight Star fame) and Jim [Salamone].”
Pendergrass’ final album was released in September 1998 and debuted at No. 83 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Following the singer’s death in January 2010, This Christmas (I’d Rather Have Love) saw a spike in popularity and it peaked No. 43 on the Holiday Albums chart.