By Sheryl Aronson
Saturday, September 24th at 1 pm, President Barack Obama dedicated the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. At 9 am, a dedication ceremony and musical presentation occurred and the doors opened to the public. During the last decade and a half, the National Museum of African American Heritage has been collecting items: 40,000 objects and documents, and they displayed 3,000 of these today.
A very significant musical institution is being honored at the museum, Philadelphia International Records, which was founded in 1971 by the writer/producer duo of Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff along with pianist/writer, Thom Bell. Philadelphia International Records created the musical genre called Philadelphia Soul or The Sound of Philly. (TSOP). Between 1971 through the early 1980’s, Philadelphia International Records sold over 170 gold and platinum recordings, plus Gamble and Huff wrote over 3,000 songs marking them as the most prolific songwriters of all time.
Philadelphia International Records contributed the piano used by Thom Bell and other memorabilia to the museum. Two prominent businessmen involved in the the music industry and who also know Gamble and Huff personally, commented on the historical significance of this event.
Robert E. Johnson, CEO of Soul Records and Mighty Works Media said, ” Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff are the ultimate writing duo in the history of music. As founders of The Sound of Philly and the Philadelphia International Record Label, these two men along with Thom Bell created the Mighty Three Music Company, which put out hit after hit with The Sound of Philly (TSOP). Their mottos were: There is a Message in The Music and You Will Never Forget Our Tunes, (How True). The piano used by Thom Bell and other memorabilia from Gamble and Huff have been placed in the National Museum of African American History in Washington DC. With over 3,000 hit songs and over 175 gold records, what else can I say?” Robert E. Johnson, CEO of Soul Records and Mighty Works Media.
Carl “Pep” Brown, President of Mighty Works Media.
“I had the greatest mentorship that anyone in the business could possibly receive. Being an Executive Producer under Gamble and Huff surpassed my college degree in Business. I learned from the Masters of Music while at Philadelphia International Records, working with them. The best may be yet to come, but the experiences I had with Gamble and Huff were second to none.”
More Philidelphia displayed at the National Museum of African American History and Culture:
For more information regarding the National Museum of African American History and Culture: https://nmaahc.si.edu/