Legendary producer-songwriting team and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees KENNETH GAMBLE andLEON HUFF will be honored by the City of Philadelphia with the renaming of the block of South Broad Street they made famous to “people all over the world” as “Gamble & Huff Walk” in a special ceremony to be held here Wednesday, November 17 at noon EST.
The world-renowned pioneering music icons, architects of “The Sound of Philadelphia,” one of the most enduring brands of soul music anywhere, will be honored in ceremonies in front of the infamous Philadelphia International Records building, where they created a massive catalogue of 3,000 songs together, including R&B #1 hits, pop #1 hits, 100 gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters’ award nominees. The block of South Broad Street where the historic building resides is located along the Avenue of the Arts between Spruce and Pine streets, a strip that also includes the Kimmel Center, the University of the Arts and the recently launched TSOP Experience, a live performance venue and souvenir shop that celebrates the Gamble & Huff legacy by showcasing the music of Philadelphia’s rising and established stars.
Though an arson fire has kept the Philadelphia International Records offices at 309 S. Broad Street quiet since the beginning of the year, the street renaming signifies a whole new beginning for Gamble & Huff, as the duo prepares for a glorious two-year celebration of their legacy, beginning next year with the 40thanniversary of Philadelphia International Records, and continuing into 2012 with the 50th anniversary of their distinguished partnership. The extraordinary festivities along Broad Street will include a free outdoor concert by several recording artists in the extended Philadelphia International Records family. Guest speakers and attendees will include numerous dignitaries, recording artists, business associates andfamily members.
“We are truly blessed that the City of Philadelphia, which has inspired so many of our message songs throughout the decades, and which we are proud to say has been our home for so many years, feels we are worthy of such an honor,” says Gamble & Huff. “This is beyond our wildest dreams. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
Gamble & Huff are among the most prolific professional songwriting teams of all time, having written and produced over 3,000 songs within 35 years, an output that rivals Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Leiber& Stoller and Holland-Dozier-Holland. Their message songs of peace, love, empowerment, social conscience and turmoil sold millions of records, as they fashioned the sweet, sexy, stirring, socially conscious Philly Sound at Philadelphia International Records (PIR). They are enshrined in five music Halls of Fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Featured prominently in television programs (“The Apprentice,” “Cold Case”), films (“The Nutty Professor”) and advertising spots (Verizon, Chevrolet, Coors Light, Old Navy, The Gap, Office Max) for more than 30 years, Gamble & Huff’s songs have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. In fact, one of their songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes. 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 created monster hits almost from the first day of its inception. Songs they have written and produced together, like “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train,” “For The Love Of Money,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Cowboys to Girls,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive” and “TSOP” (better known as the “Soul Train” theme), have received songwriters’ awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). Their songs comprise the most sampled R&B catalogue in the world, by artists such as Jay-Z, Usher, Cam’ron, JaRule, Jaheim, and Avant.
Gamble & Huff have recorded and collaborated 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, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Aretha Franklin, the Spinners, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Butler, Wilson Pickett, Labelle, Archie Bell & the Drells, the Soul Survivors, Laura Nyro, the Trammps, McFadden & Whitehead, Phyllis Hymanand Grover Washington Jr.
Their songs also have been covered by a myriad of artists including Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Bette Midler, Simply Red, Michael Buble, Johnny Mathis, Lesley Gore, Donny & Marie, Thelma Houston, the Brand New Heavies and most recently,Rod Stewart, who sings four Gamble & Huff classics on his latest album, Soulbook.
In 1999, four years after being inducted into the National Academy of Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Gamble & Huff were honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with the Trustees Award for their extensive body of work, both as producer and songwriter, and their contribution to the entire fabric of popular music, joining luminaries like Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Walt Disney. They have been inducted twice into the Dance Music Hall of Fame as well as the R&B Hall of Fame. In 2005, Gamble & Huff appeared on American Idolin a show devoted entirely to their music. In 2008, Gamble & Huff were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the first recipients of the newly createdAhmetErtegün Award. And earlier this year, Gamble & Huff were presented honorary doctor of music degrees – their first togetherin a distinguished partnership that is nearing its 50th anniversary – at Berklee College of Music’s 2010 Commencement.