PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS SAYS GOODBYE AS ‘SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA’ BUILDING FOREVER SILENCED – FORMER HOME OF GAMBLE & HUFF’S WORLD-RENOWNED PHILLY SOUND AND CAMEO-PARKWAY RECORDS TO MAKE WAY FOR HI-RISE HOTEL AND LUXURY CONDOMINIUM
Lowering and Removal of Iconic Neon Sign Signifies Closure of Legendary Record Label As Historic Building Prepares For Wrecking Ball
PHILADELPHIA – The “Love Train” that has carried “The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)” to “people all over the world” for almost half a century made its last physical stop at 309 S. Broad Street this week as the legendaryPhiladelphia International Records label, founded by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer-songwriters Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, was officially shut down with the sale of its historic building to a prominent local developer. “The closing of the company and building is definitely bittersweet, but we are extremely proud and honored to have been able to create so much great music out of our ‘309’ location,” said Gamble & Huff in a joint statement. “It was such a blessing and miracle how all of this came together over 50 years. More importantly, we would like to thank all of the wonderful musicians, artists and staff members who helped make Philadelphia International Records what it became – and what it remains – an incredible African-American institution and music and cultural brand.”
Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records became the birthplace, incubator and launching pad for the Philly Soul sound aka “The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP),” a unique blend of R&B rhythms, sweet soul vocals, deep funk grooves, pulsing horn charts and lush string arrangements with melodic structures combining elements of pop, jazz and world music.With a stable core of artists led by the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB and the Three Degrees, Gamble & Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records and began creating monster hits from nearly the first day of its inception in 1971. They continued to record, collaborate and produce major hits with a galaxy of stars from the pop, rock, soul and jazz universes, including Michael Jackson and the Jacksons, Elton John, Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, the Spinners, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Butler, Wilson Pickett, LaBelle, Archie Bell & the Drells, the Soul Survivors, Laura Nyro, theTrammps, McFadden & Whitehead, Phyllis Hyman, the Dells and many more. “We were honored to record our many hits with Philadelphia International Records under the tutelage of Gamble & Huff, who were not only great producers but excellent songwriters for us and the many others on the roster,” saidWalter Williams of the O’Jays. “More importantly, we respected these two great men and the PIR record label for nurturing and helping other artists, producers and writers to also become hit makers. The O’Jays definitely benefited, even down to this day, from being a part of the Philadelphia International Records family.”
The label produced some of the world’s greatest hit songs such as “ Love Train,” “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” “For The Love Of Money,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Me and Mrs. Jones,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “I’mGonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “You’ll Never Find A Love Like Mine,” “Ain’t NoStoppin Us Now,” “TSOP” (better known as the “Soul Train” theme) and many other Top 10 Billboard hits over the past 50 years. The PIR Catalog has some of the most sampled R&B catalogue in the world, appearing on recordings by artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mary J Blige, Destiny’s Child, Usher, T.I.,Chrisette Michele, Cam’ron, Ja Rule, Jaheim, Avant and many more. The iconic “Philadelphia International Records” blue neon sign that adorned the historic “Sound of Philadelphia” building at 309 S. Broad Street was permanently removed this week in final preparations for the famous structure’s demolition. The lowering of the sign symbolized the end of a legendary record label and an era whose music will continue to resonate deeply with “people all over the world” for generations to come.
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