Walter B. Kahn, record producer to the stars

Walter B. Kahn works with Stevie Wonder at his Queen Village studio in 1973. He also worked with the Dixie Hummingbirds.
Walter B. Kahn works with Stevie Wonder at his Queen Village studio in 1973. He also worked with the Dixie Hummingbirds.
Posted: July 03, 2013

Walter B. Kahn, 65, an independent record producer who maintained a recording studio in Queen Village from 1970 to 1984, died Saturday, June 15, of kidney failure at his home in Clearwater, Fla.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Kahn graduated from Harriton High School in 1966 and earned a degree in radio, television, and film from Temple University in 1970.

At various times he lived in Los Angeles and Clearwater. While in this area, he lived in Merion, Society Hill, and Queen Village.

Mr. Kahn's entertainment career began in his teens, as a Top 40 disc jockey for WNAR radio in Norristown. He hosted dance parties and produced record hops, and at age 19, he emceed for Motown groups such as the Four Tops when they appeared in Philadelphia.

In 1970, Mr. Kahn founded Queen Village Recording Studios. He was joined in 1971 by his brother, pianist and songwriter Andy Kahn. The brothers built a roster of performing artists, songwriters, and musicians whom they produced for major record labels in the United States and abroad.

In 1974, Mr. Kahn produced "Loves Me Like a Rock," performed by the Philadelphia gospel group the Dixie Hummingbirds. The Hummingbirds' rendition of the Paul Simon song won the Grammy Award for best gospel performance that year.

As an independent producer, Mr. Kahn recorded music for ABC, Atlantic, CBS, Casablanca, MGM, PolyGram, RCA, and Warner Bros. He worked with the musical groups Calhoon, Cindy & Roy, Jill Baby Love, Miranda, Mizz, Great Pride, Jean Wells, and Hazze.

In 1978, the hit song "Hot Shot," performed by Philadelphia singer Karen Young, was recorded in his studio. Though he didn't produce that number, Mr. Kahn became executive producer of Young's recordings for the next 12 years. She died in 1991.

In 1992, Kahn produced the song "Jump!" by the Movement, released on his own Sunshine Records label. It reached No. 1 on Billboard Magazine's Top Dance Singles chart. He signed a distribution deal with Arista Records for the single, which can be heard in films and TV shows.

In 1995, Mr. Kahn produced the song "I Wish" by rapper Skee-Lo, along with an album. The single reached the Top Ten on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 singles chart. "I Wish" received a Grammy nomination for best rap album that year.

Mr. Kahn was married to Tricia Braun, from whom he was divorced. Surviving are two sons, Avery and Julian, and another brother, Billy.

A memorial service will be later.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8102 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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