Prep fifty candles for Gamble, Huff and Philadelphia International Records as the 50th anniversary celebration gets underway.
Philadelphia International Records – the principal outlet of the Sound of Philadelphia and its owners Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff – turns 50 this year. And with it (and that anniversary’s announcement) all heaven breaks loose. With major partnerships, products and tie-ins to and with Sony Legacy Recordings, Warner Chappell Music, Sonos, Vinyl Me, Please, and Snapper Music.
“It’s a blessing to celebrate all of the writers, musicians, engineers, disc jockeys, and all the people that were on our team,” said Philadelphia International Records co-founder Kenny Gamble in a prepared statement. “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.”
Philadelphia International Records co-founder Leon Huff seconded that emotion with, “Long live the music of Gamble and Huff!”
If you need a refresher – and shame on you, if you do – the Philadelphia duo of Gamble and Huff (when it comes to publishing, include Thom Bell) along with a marvelous mélange of producers, songwriters, musicians and engineers (think Dexter Wansel, Bobby Martin, MFSB, Joe Tarsia) played alongside the legendary likes of The O’Jays and Patti LaBelle. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass and Lou Rawls. McFadden and Whitehead. The Three Degrees and Phyllis Hyman. The Intruders. The ultimate “house band” MFSB, and more.
First things first, Legacy Recordings, DJ Eric Kupper and executive producer Brad LeBeau created inspiring new remixes of one of the label’s most iconic hits. The McFadden and Whitehead staple “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”
After that, in February, Sonos will premiere a new station on Sonos Radio HD. The ad-free, CD-quality audio tier of Sonos Radio. Titled, the Sound of Philadelphia. Hosted and hand-curated by Kenny Gamble himself. The station will feature special guests, as well as unique programming for Black History Month, Women’s History Month and more. The Sound of Philadelphia will be available on February 24 on Sonos Radio HD.
Still, without dates, VMP (Vinyl Me, Please) in conjunction with Legacy Recordings will partner on VMP Anthology: The Story of Philadelphia International. An exclusive vinyl box set celebrating the renowned Philly Soul label coming in 2021. The Story of Philadelphia International reinvents the box set experience to take listeners on a sequential journey told across eight albums remastered from their original tapes and paired with liner notes. And an exclusive podcast interview series in celebration of PIR’s 50th anniversary.
Then, Snapper Music-United Souls in conjunction with Legacy Recordings will release a volume series of limited edition 8-CD sets throughout the year celebrating the 50th Anniversary of PIR. Each set will contain a unique giant poster, an exclusive 12” single. Endorsed numbered certificate. 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. All discs will be mastered from original tapes bringing together the entire PIR studio album collection for the very first time.
Get ready to jump aboard the Philadelphia International Records Love Train.