HISTORIC DOCUMENTARY ON MUSIC ICONS KENNY GAMBLE, LEON HUFF AND THOM BELL
WARNER MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, WARNER CHAPPELL MUSIC, IMAGINE DOCUMENTARIES AND JIGSAW PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCE HISTORIC DOCUMENTARY ON MUSIC ICONS KENNYGAMBLE, LEON HUFF AND THOM BELL
The film will explore their prolific lives and lasting legacies as songwriters and producers, telling the incredible story of The Sound of Philadelphia
Alex Gibney to Executive Produce; Sam Pollard to Direct
LOS ANGELES, CA – February 2, 2022: Warner Music Entertainment (WME), Warner Chappell Music (WCM), and Imagine Documentaries, in partnership with Jigsaw Productions, today announced The Sound of Philadelphia, a documentary celebrating the creation of music’s most symphonically seductive genre, Philly Soul. The never-before-told story will chronicle the enduring legacies of musical icons Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell as they developed their timeless sound, which would go on to influence generations of artists and songwriters and change the music industry forever.
The Oscar and Emmy award-winning executive producer Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Men in the Room, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, The Crime of the Century) has signed on to the project, along with Peabody and Emmy award-winning director Sam Pollard (Mr. Soul!, Sammy Davis, Jr: I Gotta Be Me). The film will also be executive produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Sara Bernstein, and Justin Wilkes (Imagine); Charlie Cohen (WME); Ashley Winton (WCM); Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, and Erin Edeiken (Jigsaw); and Amanda Ghost and Gregor Cameron (Unigram).
The Sound ofPhiladelphia will include exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage featuring the groundbreaking songwriters and producers Gamble, Huff, and Bell – known as “The Mighty Three.” As the founders of the legendary record label Philadelphia International Records, and creators of “The Sound of Philadelphia” (TSOP), the documentary will explore how they crafted their unique sound and music business prowess. With a catalog spanning more than 3,500 songs, The Mighty Three wrote and produced genre-defining hits that shaped a generation, including “Love Train” by The O’Jays, “If You Don’t Know Me Now” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul, “Rubberband Man” by the Spinners, “You Are Everything” by The Stylistics, and “TSOP” by MFSB and the Three Degrees – famously known for its use as the Soul Train theme song.
The documentary will further explore Gamble, Huff and Bell’s roll in producing and writing major hits with world renowned artists such as The Jacksons, Dusty Springfield, Lou Rawls, The Three Degrees, Patti LaBelle, Nancy Wilson, The Temptations and the Supremes collaboration, Elton John and many more. The documentary will bring to light the meteoric rise to fame of three trailblazers from the streets of Philadelphia and Camden who worked to create the most successful Black-owned record label and music publishing company in the world, all while channeling their iconic success back into the community.
Gamble, Huff and Bell shared: “After six decades, we are incredibly proud to finally share our life stories with the world and showcase all the hard work that has gone into creating this great music. We are even more excited to be working with the incredible teams at Imagine and Warner Music, as well as Alex Gibney and Sam Pollard. Our longtime fans and new fans will get a unique look into the creation of the Sound of Philadelphia with the themes of empowerment and love, to ‘people all over the world’ as we’ve always had a ‘Message in our Music!!!’”
Warner Music Entertainment President, Charlie Cohen, commented: “Kenny, Leon, and Thom’s lasting impact on music and our culture at large cannot be understated. Their music is timeless, with the messages in their songs still resonating today. When Ashley Winton and the team at Warner Chappell brought us this idea, we immediately knew we had something special. And now with Alex Gibney and Sam Pollard signed on to lend their creative visions to the project, we’re excited to see this story come to life.”
Alex Gibney noted: “I am thrilled to co-produce this film about these exceptional songwriters, whose words and music continue to have an impact. And pleased to be working again with my friend Sam Pollard – who produced and edited ‘Sinatra: All or Nothing At All,’ a fine director with a profound understanding of music.”
Sam Pollard added: “I was absolutely delighted when I was approached about directing a feature length doc about the extraordinary music creators Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell. They made superstars out of artists that previously toiled in obscurity, through songs of peace, love, social conscience, and turmoil. I’m looking forward to working with my dear friend Alex Gibney again as we shine a light on the powerful, sophisticated, and timeless ‘Sound of Philadelphia.’”
The documentary’s development is driven by Warner Chappell’s Creative Services department – which identifies untapped commercial and creative opportunities for Warner Chappell’s songwriters and catalog. It marks the latest project to come from WME and Warner Chappell’s partnership with Imagine Entertainment.
Caption: L to R: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Thom Bell
Credit: Philadelphia International Records
ABOUT WARNER CHAPPELL MUSIC
Warner Chappell Music, the global music publishing company of Warner Music Group, is home to a wide array of legendary songwriters and a rich catalog of contemporary hits and influential standards. With offices in more than 20 countries, Warner Chappell provides deep expertise across a range of creative services and the most innovative opportunities for songwriters and copyright holders. Warner Chappell, which has a history dating back more than 200 years, currently publishes and administers music from A-Lin, Angèle, Anderson .Paak, Apache 207, Ava Max, Aya Nakamura, Bruno Mars, Capital Bra, Celeste, Chris Jeday, CJ, Cole Porter, Dan + Shay, Dave, Duran Duran, El Guincho, Fraser T. Smith, Gamble and Huff, Gene Autry Music Group catalog, George Gershwin, George Michael, Grateful Dead, Jasmine Sokko, Jesse & Joy, Justin Tranter, Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Kevin Yi, Kool & the Gang, Led Zeppelin, Lin Xi, Lizzo, Madonna, MNEK, Oscar Holter, Pablo Alborán, Pop Smoke, Quincy Jones, Rauw Alejandro, RAYE, Stormzy, Summer Walker, Ta-You Lo, Thomas Rhett, and Tones and I, among many others.
Warner Music Entertainment (WME), the television and film division of Warner Music Group (WMG), is passionately devoted to music-driven storytelling through the creation, development, and acquisition of compelling original visual content. Since its inception in 2017, WME has produced a variety of acclaimed long-form television series, films, and documentaries, including David Byrne’s 6x Emmy-nominated HBO special, American Utopia; National Geographic’s 3x Emmy-nominated Genius: Aretha; the 3x Emmy-nominated Epix two-part docuseries, Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time; and many others. With deep connections across the entertainment industry, WME also partners with leading production companies, such as Imagine Entertainment, Lightbox and now SK Global, to co-produce, co-develop, and co-finance various film and television projects, both long and short-form.
ABOUT JIGSAW PRODUCTIONS
Jigsaw Productions is helmed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, considered one of the most prolific and thought-provoking documentary filmmakers of our generation.
Jigsaw has produced some of the most acclaimed documentaries in the last 15 years, including the triple Emmy-winning Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief; Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side; Oscar-nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room; and the Emmy-nominated The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. Alex Gibney’s latest features include Crazy, Not Insane, which premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival; Agents of Chaos, a two-part documentary about Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections both for HBO; Totally Under Control, a searing look at the Trump administration’s failure to contain the COVID 19 pandemic, released theatrically by Neon; and the acclaimed two-part documentary, The Crime of the Century on HBO and HBO Max which explored the origins, extent, and fallout of one of the most devastating public health tragedies of our time, the opioid crisis. Jigsaw’s slate of highly visible TV series includes two seasons of the popular investigative series Dirty Money and the highly acclaimed Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, based on Samin Nosrat’s book of the same name, both on Netflix; in association with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, Why We Hate on Discovery; Hip Hop: Songs That Shook America on AMC; How To Fix A Drug Scandal and The Innocence Files on Netflix; Emmy-nominated Laurel Canyon on Epix; Generation Hustle on HBO Max; and Murder on Middle Beach on HBO. Whether the company is creating a documentary or narrative film, a scripted or unscripted series, Jigsaw adheres to a particular ethos: well-told, insightful, scrupulously researched, and visually poignant stories, which ignite and engage our curiosity. Reaching audiences on screens small or large, on platforms digital or traditional, Jigsaw aims to achieve critical and commercial success without sacrificing style or authenticity. In June of 2020, Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine made a substantial investment in Jigsaw Productions making it a subsidiary of Imagine Entertainment.