PHILADELPHIA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Producer-songwriting team and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Kenneth Gamble and Leon 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 November 17.
The pioneering music icons, architects of “The Sound of Philadelphia,” 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 two-year celebration of their legacy, beginning next year with the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records, and continuing into 2012 with the 50th anniversary of their partnership.
The 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 and family members, according to the press release.
"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 according to the press release. “This is beyond our wildest dreams. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
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 according to the press release.
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).
Gamble & Huff have recorded and collaborated with stars from the pop, rock, soul and jazz universes, including Michael Jackson and the Jacksons, Elton John, Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, and Aretha Franklin among others.
The duo's 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.
— Crystal Lynn Huntoon