WHAT: The iconic PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS blue neon sign that adorns the historic “Sound of Philadelphia” building at 309 S. Broad Street will be permanently removed Wednesday, Oct. 15, in final preparations for the building’s demolition. The sign symbolizes the end of a legendary record label, and an era whose music continues to resonate deeply with “people all over the world.”
The sign’s removal is in conjunction with the closing of PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS and the sale of the building - owned since 1970 by pioneering songwriting partners Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell – this week to Dranoff Properties. The building, ravaged by a 2010 arson fire from which it never recovered, is scheduled to be demolished in 2015, when ground will be broken at that site on the 47-story SLS International hotel and luxury condominium.
The PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS sign will be immediately removed from the site and placed into safe storage with other artifacts and memorabilia from the famous recording studios and offices for future museum consideration, according to Chuck Gamble, executive vice president of Philadelphia International Records and Gamble-Huff Music.
WHERE: Philadelphia International Records building
309 S. Broad St. / Gamble Huff Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19107
WHEN: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Chuck Gamble, executive vice president of Philadelphia International Records and Gamble-Huff Music
WHY: In recent years leading up to the arson fire, the Philadelphia International Records offices in the monumental brick building had become a major tourist attraction where Michael Jackson, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, the O’Jays, Lou Rawls, Chubby Checker and dozens more created worldwide smash hits. From school children to celebrity VIPs, Philadelphia International Records continually hosted visitors eager to see the historic rooms and hallways where the legendary “Sound of Philadelphia” music was created. The offices and recording studios also have been the site of several film documentaries and television specials and media visits, as well as special receptions, including a recent event honoring Motown founder and friend Berry Gordy. Gamble & Huff also originated their recent radio series on Sirius XM from the third floor recording studios. As the corporate office for Gamble & Huff, the building served primarily as the source of the vast music catalog’s worldwide licensing. Their music has been featured prominently in television programs ("The Apprentice"), films ("The Nutty Professor") and advertising spots (Coors, Verizon, Old Navy, The Gap) for more than 35 years, entering the musical DNA of contemporary culture. Prior to the PIR era, this also was the building where Chubby Checker recorded “The Twist” and Dee Dee Sharp recorded “The Mashed Potato” as the home of the legendary Cameo-Parkway record label. Gamble & Huff wrote over 3,000 songs within 35 years, including R&B #1 hits, pop #1 hits, gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters' awards honorees. 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 and 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," have received songwriters' awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). All told, the Gamble-Huff/PIR music machine has generated over 50 Gold and Platinum records and over 50 Top 10 hits.