Philadelphia International Records celebrates 50th anniversary

Philadelphia International Records celebrates 50th anniversary
Producers Gamble and Huff at the 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame (Photo Credit: Dave Goodson for Steed Media Service)

The legendary soul label, Philadelphia International Records, has kicked off a year-long campaign this week celebrating its 50th anniversary. Launched by producers, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971, the label introduced Philadelphia soul music to the world, which was later coined “The Sound of Philadelphia.”

Gamble and Huff picked up where Motown left off and brought a political message in the songs they wrote and produced. They made stars out of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes with hits like “I Miss You” and “Wake Up Everybody” and launched the solo career of Teddy Pendergrass. A few of their other classics include “Back Stabbers” and “Family Reunion” by The O’Jays and Billy Paul’s original entanglement anthem, “Me and Mrs. Jones.”


Patti LaBelle, The Jacksons, McFadden & Whitehead, and Lou Rawls are just a few more stars who were blessed with Gamble and Huff’s Midas touch. As part of the celebration, Legacy Recordings has released new remixes on streaming platforms of McFadden and Whitehead’s inspirational theme “Ain’t No Stopping Us,” which was originally produced by the legendary duo.

Sonos Radio will also premiere a new station on Feb. 24, titled the “Sound of Philadelphia,” which will be hosted and hand-curated by Kenny Gamble. The new station will explore the label’s greatest hits and will take listeners behind-the-scenes with Gamble. He will share stories from his time writing, producing and working on 120 internationally-beloved albums and over 40 gold and platinum records. The station will also feature special guests, as well as unique programming for Black History Month and Women’s History Month.


Gamble spoke on the label’s milestone anniversary in a statement, saying, “It’s a blessing to celebrate all of the writers, musicians, engineers, disc jockeys, and all the people that were on our team. When I listen to this music now, I can close my eyes and the music brings us all back together again. Hearing this music reminds me of all the hard work and dedication our team went through to make such a long-lasting catalog, that has been embraced by the world and I’m thankful.”

An exclusive vinyl box set, as well as an 8-disc box set of their hits, will also be released this year, accompanied by a lavish 48-page hardcover book with a comprehensive archive of rare photographs compiled and curated in association with artists, engineers, and producers relevant to the label’s story.

Take a look at the video of the groundbreaking label on the next page and follow the year-long celebration at www.SoundOfPhiladelphia.com.

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