June 10, 2013 |
'Gamble-Huff-Bell Music. " The first two names listed on the sign above the doorway at the Philadelphia International Records offices at 309 S. Broad St. are those most closely associated with the sophisticated soul music that became universally known as "The Sound of Philadelphia" in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But there were more than two major players writing the Philadelphia chapter in the great American soul-music history books. Along with Philadelphia International Records owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, there was also Thom Bell, the producer, arranger, and songwriter known for the delectably sweet music he made with the Delfonics and the Stylistics.
April 2, 1993 |
When Thom Bell, the magma-hot arranger for the Philadelphia International Records hit foundry, was approached in 1972 by an Atlantic Records executive about producing the artist of his choice, he was sent the label's roster sheet. Bell scanned the pages, noting the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. A little lower was Wilson Pickett, the scowler of a vocalist who already had accumulated more than a dozen top-40 hits. "And then I got to the bottom of the last page, and there was a typographical error," said Bell, one of tonight's Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame awards recipients.
March 15, 2015 |
Introduced as interior designer for the 152-room SLS LUX Philadelphia Hotel, the iconic Phillipe Starck found it easy to strike the right chord with his audience of city movers and shakers. Turning to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the Frenchman thanked the recording impresarios for giving him "the kind of music that has allowed me to make good projects. " "This is my opportunity," Starck said of his first Philadelphia project, "to be able to pay my debt to you and your music," to which he listens as he designs.
April 17, 1986 |
Linda Creed Epstein wrote blockbuster songs that made her a giant in the record industry, but she shunned the limelight in favor of a role as a wife and mother, according to those who knew her. Creed, 37, whose collection of hits included "The Greatest Love of All," "You Make Me Feel Brand New," "You Are Everything," and "Betcha By Golly Wow," died in her Ambler home last week after a 10-year battle with cancer. "Songwriting was her hobby, being a wife and a mother, she felt, was her full-time job," said her husband, Stephen Epstein, a record promoter.
August 17, 1993 |
There's nothing like your own brass plaque on Broad Street to get a guy all misty about Philly. Well, in Daryl Hall's case, technically it's half a plaque - he shares the Philadelphia Music Alliance award (which you can walk past between Pine and Walnut streets) with longtime partner John Oates. But it hasn't even been five months yet, so who could blame him for writing a love song about the City of Brotherly Love? (Well, Hall didn't actually write the song by himself either - he shares the credit with Peter Lord, Jeff Smith and Alan Gorrie - but we're sure the idea was all his.)
September 30, 1987 |
The Stylistics: Original members - Russell Tompkins Jr., lead vocals; Airrion Love, James Dunn, James Smith, Herb Murrell. Current members - Tompkins, Murrell, Love and Raymond Johnson. Current hometown - Philadelphia. Formed during the late '60s, The Stylistics were a merging of members of the Monarchs and The Percussions, both of which had entered a local talent contest at Benjamin Franklin High School and won first and second place, respectively. As the Stylistics, former Monarchs Tompkins, Smith and Love, and former Percussions Murrell and Dunn caught the attention of Sebring Records owner Bill Perry, who suggested they record an original compositition, "You're a Big Girl Now. " Released on the label in 1970, the song was a regional hit, its composition using to the fullest Tompkins' achingly high, tear-your-heart-out tenor - the sound that eventually became the group's signature.
April 14, 2009 |
Randy Cain, 63, a founding member of the Philadelphia soul group the Delfonics, which had the 1968 hit "La-La (Means I Love You)," died Thursday at his home in Maple Shade. Mr. Cain was found dead at his apartment by his hairdresser, said Sheila Hart, the wife of Delfonics cofounder Wilbert Hart. She said Mr. Cain had been in poor health for years. Mr. Cain met brothers William and Wilbert Hart while the three were growing up in West Philadelphia during the 1960s, Wilbert Hart recalled.
January 16, 2010 |
The career of Philadelphia soul great Teddy Pendergrass, who died Wednesday, had three distinct phases. As the drummer for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Pendergrass stepped to the mike and sang many of the defining hits of the Gamble and Huff 1970s Philly soul era, from "The Love I Lost" to "If You Don't Know Me By Now. " Then, he flew solo as libidinous "Teddy Bear," a virile, tenderhearted superstar who know how to growl and was ready...
November 13, 1990 |
At "Philly gold" radio station WPGR, the AM outlet that "plays from the heart, not from the charts," Jerry Blavat was wailing with recordings by Ronnie Dyson yesterday. The tribute was sparked by soul singer Dyson's sad demise here over the weekend from acute heart ailments. He died at age 40 never having reached his potential. Though Washington, D.C.-born and Brooklyn, N.Y.-raised, Dyson had spent a lot of time in Philadelphia. Since the mid-1980s, he'd been in town, on and off, recording for Norman "Butch" Ingram's small Society Hill Records label, trying to revive a career that hadn't really been cooking for two decades.