Monday, December 05, 2011


Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff
 Philadelphia International records - one of the greatest black record labels of all time is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Founded by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971, the label launched with the album Going East by Billy Paul in October 1971 but really hit its stride throughout 1972 with a brace of international hits from veteran Philadelphia based signings like the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and the Three Degrees. Legendary A&R visionary Clive Davis was responsible for bringing the Philly hit machine to the Columbia group for distribution – a gamble which proved to be extraordinarily successful as the major distributor struggled to keep up with the hits that were pouring out from Sigma Sound studio in downtown Philadelphia – the recording home of P.I.R. where smashes like “Backstabbers”, “Love Train”, “Me & Mrs Jones”, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and numerous others all rolled out in 1972 alone. Just two years later, Philadelphia International became the second largest black-owned company in the U.S.A. following Berry Gordy’s Motown, which had similarly forged its identity with a trademark sound from Detroit. Jump forward 40 years and Philadelphia International is still independent and still owned by its original founders, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff – an extraordinary achievement in an age where most other independent companies (including Motown) have long since been absorbed into large conglomerates. In celebrating 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International, being planned are some brand new “Philly 40” PIR releases which have been long overdue and will be eagerly anticipated around the world.

The Releases:
  • Philadelphia International: The Re-Edits - 21 of the hottest PIR Re-Edits which have been done by PIR enthusiasts from around the world. Fully approved by Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff (due Jan 2012)
  • Philadelphia International: The Roots of PIR - What happened before PIR? Ace historian and compiler Richard Searling compiles the pre PIR gems from the Gamble & Huff stable plus an exclusive DVD interview with Kenny Gamble (due Jan 2012)
  • Philadelphia International: The Tom Moulton Remixes - the godfather of the Disco Mix and inventor of the 12” format returns to the label where he started and remixes 15 more original PIR tracks to add to 16 of his best original PIR mixes (due Feb 2012)
  • Philadelphia International: 40th Anniversary Box Set - PIR expert Ralph Tee goes through the complete history of PIR with a lovingly compiled 10CD deluxe box set with 60 page booklet plus an exclusive DVD interview with Kenny Gamble (due Feb 2012)

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