Sony Music Entertainment has completed a historic deal with Philadelphia International Records, securing global ownership of all recordings made for PIR, the groundbreaking hit-making label founded by music icons Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971.
The landmark deal adds all post-1975 PIR recordings to the PIR titles already owned by SME, reuniting the entirety of the Philadelphia International Recordings catalog under a single global licensing and reissue entity.
In late 2013, Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of SME, made a number of PIR titles available in the digital realm, including Essentials collections by The O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass and Lou Rawls as well as various artists anthologies — Golden Gate Groove: The Sound of Philadelphia in San Francisco and The Sound of Philadelphia: Gamble & Huff‘s Greatest Hits — mapping the breadth of the Sound of Philadelphia, one of the most influential and abiding catalogs of soul/pop music ever recorded.
In 2014, Legacy will be offering a series of new physical and digital releases created from the PIR catalog, including a definitive Philadelphia International Records box, budget single artist anthology titles, 12″ and 7″ vinyl replica collectibles and more.
The first round of these new PIR titles will be released in the UK on April 21, 2014 and will include single CD best-of collections from Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, The Three Degrees, The Intruders, The O’Jays, Billy Paul and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes to be issued on the Camden line.
The UK PIR spring launch will center on the release of a 20 CD Philadelphia International Records box set containing:
1. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
2. Back Stabbers – The O’Jays
3. 360 Degrees of Billy Paul – Billy Paul
4. Save The Children – The Intruders
5. The Three Degrees – The Three Degrees
6. Ship Ahoy – The O’Jays
7. Love Is The Message – MFSB
8. Keep Smilin’ – Bunny Sigler
9. Wake Up Everybody – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
10. All Things In Time – Lou Rawls
11. Life On Mars – Dexter Wansel
12. The Jacksons – The Jacksons
13. Teddy Pendergrass – Teddy Pendergrass
14. Jean Carn – Jean Carn
15. The Jones Girls – Jones Girls
16. Edwin Birdsong – Edwin Birdsong
17. McFadden and Whitehead – McFadden and Whitehead
18. When You Hear Lou You’ve Heard It All – Lou Rawls
19. I’m In Love Again – Patti LaBelle
20. Life is A Song Worth Singing – Teddy Pendergrass
Each title in the lift-top box comes in a sleeve replicating the original album artwork.
About Philadelphia International Records and Gamble & Huff
Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records became 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 & 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, and 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, 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 Hyman, Grover Washington Jr. and many more.
The label produced some of the world’s greatest hit songs, such as “ Love Train,”0 “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’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” “Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now.” “TSOP” (better known as the “Soul Train” theme), and many other Top Ten 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.
Legendary producers and songwriters Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff (Gamble & Huff) are among the most prolific professional songwriters of all time, having written and produced over 3,500 songs within 50 years, an output rivaling such famed songwriting teams as Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards and Holland-Dozier-Holland. They are enshrined in the American “fabric of music” with a massive catalogue that includes numerous pop #1 hits, R&B #1 hits, and 100 gold and platinum records that have resulted in Grammy and BMI Songwriter Awards.
As one of the most requested Sync Licensing Catalogues, the PIR/Gamble & Huff recordings and songs have been featured prominently in television programs (“The Apprentice,” “Cold Case”), films (“American Hustle,” “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.
Gamble & Huff have been prestigiously inducted and honored by several Music Halls of Fame including the Grammy-National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Trustees, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Producers Hall of Fame, Dance Music Hall of Fame, and R & B Hall of Fame. In 2008, Gamble & Huff were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the first recipients of the newly created Ahmet Ertegun Award. These music icons are recognized around the world for their contribution to the entire fabric of popular music, joining luminaries like Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin, The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra.
In 2005, Gamble & Huff appeared on American Idol in a show devoted entirely to their music, and in 2010 they were presented honorary doctor of music degrees from the Berklee College of Music.
Their songs also have been covered by a myriad of artists including Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Bette Midler, Michael Bublé, Martina McBride, Seal, Simply Red, Johnny Mathis, Lesley Gore, Donny & Marie, Thelma Houston, the Brand New Heavies and recently, Rod Stewart, who sings four Gamble & Huff classics on his 2009 album, Soulbook.
Gamble & Huff created and are credited with launching one of the most celebrated and historic songwriting partnerships that spawned a sophisticated sound lovingly crafted in the studio by some of the 20th century’s most influential producers and studio teams – including Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell, Linda Creed, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead, Bunny Sigler, Dexter Wansel, Bobby Martin, MFSB Orchestra, Baker, Harris and Young, Joe Tarsia (Sigma Sound) and others. Philly Soul set the stage for disco, smooth jazz, adult contemporary music and more.
Gamble and Huff will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary starting in the fall of 2014 with the projected release of their Autobiographical Book and the 2015 launch of their Theatrical Play on their historic Life Story and the creation of one of America’s great music catalogues, known as “The Sound of Philadelphia.”