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Philadelphia Music Alliance Announces 2023 Walk of Fame Honorees

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PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Philadelphia Music Alliance, a community-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Philadelphia’s rich musical legacy, announced their 2023 Walk of Fame inductees during a press conference today at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Established in 1986, the Walk of Fame, a creation of the Philadelphia Music Alliance, is a must-see tourist attraction on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.

“The Walk of Fame is the City’s most impressive public monument to the people who have made Philadelphia a great music city,” said Mark Schulz, Managing Director of the Philadelphia Music Alliance. “Our 2023 inductees have deeply influenced how music is experienced not only in Philadelphia, but around the world. We are excited to honor these incredible artists, bands, and personalities on Broad Street this April.”

The Walk of Fame is located along Broad Street’s Avenue of the Arts. This series of over 100 bronze commemorative plaques honors Philadelphia area musicians and music professionals who have made a significant contribution to the world of music. The Walk of Fame recognizes the vast contribution of Philadelphia to all musical genres, and encourages the creation, celebration, and historical preservation of Philadelphia music.

The 2023 honorees include:
Leslie Odom, Jr.
Governor Rendell
The Bacon Brothers
The Tymes
John DeBella
Patty Jackson
James DePreist

In addition, PMA will present a special award to Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff & Thom Bell as “The Sound of Philadelphia.”

The Philadelphia Music Alliance will reveal the honorees’ bronze commemorative plaques on April 20, 2023 during a day-long celebration on Broad Street, which concludes with the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Gala Celebration, which is held at Vie (600 N Broad Street, Philadelphia). Media are invited to the April 20 plaque unveilings; details will be distributed at a later date.

Bios for all artists are below.

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The Bacon Brothers: Bound by blood and a mutual love of American roots music, The Bacon Brothers, Michael and Kevin Bacon, have spent the past quarter-century in a creative whirl, funneling their shared DNA into a genre-bending sound. They call that sound “forosoco” — a blend of folk, rock, soul, and country influences, delivered by two songwriters who were born to collaborate — and it’s taken the siblings across the world, from shows in Japan to performances at American landmarks like Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. They’ve been featured by the BBC, Associated Press, Sirius XM, Paste Magazine and The Huffington Post, have performed at the Washington, D.C. Correspondents Jam, and have hosted the very prestigious charity event Gods Love We Deliver.

The Bacon Brothers turn a new page with their eleventh release, Erato, whose five songs showcase the duo at their diverse peak. It’s an EP of dynamic contrasts: quiet moments and big payoffs, organic instrumentation and electronic textures, self-penned songs and high-profile collaborations. For Michael and Kevin Bacon, it’s also the continuation of a story that began long ago in Philadelphia, where the two siblings were raised on a soundtrack of 1970s singer/songwriters, Philly soul singers, and classic rock bands.

“We’re still exploring the sound we began making 25 years ago; we’ve just gotten a lot better at it,” says Michael, whose success as an Emmy-winning composer mirrors his brother’s own accolades as an A-list Hollywood actor. “Music is a life’s work. It’s a universe of things yet to know. It’s exciting to be doing stuff we couldn’t have done 20 years ago — to know that we’ve come so far, yet still have so much left in the tank.”

“We’re a songwriting band, and the songs lead the way,” Kevin explains. “We’re not beholden to a specific sound. We just write the songs and let them point us in the right direction. That’s how we’ve done it since the very beginning.”

“We’re always trying to break out of our specific habits and try something new,” Kevin says. “We’re two songwriters who have a lot of different influences, and we’ve learned to embrace that reality. As long as it comes from us, it sounds like us.”

“If you’re an athlete or a dancer, you usually have to launch a new career by the time you’re 40,” Michael adds. “We’re lucky. We’re still moving forward and getting better, and that’s where we like to be.”

Thom Bell: Thom Bell was a Grammy winning producer and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, but is perhaps best known for his part, along with “Mighty Three” partners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, in the creation of the Sound of Philadelphia. As a songwriter, musician, producer and arranger, Bell established himself as one of the most important R&B/Soul music figures of all time.

Born in 1943, Bell studied classical music as a child. As a teen, he met up with and joined Gamble in The Romeos. He learned to play multiple instruments and planned to become a classical conductor. But instead, at age 22, he became a staff writer and touring conductor for Chubby Checker. He earned his first production gig for a group called the Delfonics in 1968. The combination yielded two big hits, “La La Means I Love You” and “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind,” and enhanced Bell’s reputation beyond Philadelphia.

Bell’s early work set the stage for his style of production and arrangements. He was known as being organized and precise, but also adventurous. His exacting work was groundbreaking, as he created unique arrangements using instruments including sitars and bassoons, to create first-of-a-kind Soul sounds that others try to copy to this day. His productions tended to be lush and orchestral (influenced by his classical background), but with hot, pulsating beats and excellent vocal arrangements.

1972 was a major year for Bell. He produced the debut album by the Stylistics, considered by many to be one of the greatest “Sweet Soul” albums of all time, and, with his songwriting partner, lyricist Linda Creed, contributed such classics as “Betcha By Golly Wow” and “You Are Everything” to that seminal album. He also provided production and arrangement work on the O’Jays’ Backstabbers album and completed one of his greatest works, the Spinners’ self-titled Atlantic Records debut (which included “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” and “Ghetto Child,” among others). Bell won the Grammy award in 1975 in the category of “Best Producer of the
Year”, the first time that an award was given in that category.

Over the course of the 1970’s he became one of R&B music’s most prolific hitmakers, working with numerous acts including Dionne Warwick, Teddy Pendergrass, New York City, Ronnie Dyson, Lou Rawls, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Dusty Springfield, and Johnny Mathis. He also was approached by Elton John for a collaboration that resulted in an EP and the hit “Mama Can’t Buy You Love” at the time and then, over twenty years later, the re-release of the collaboration “Are You Ready For Love?” as a dance remix by Fatboy Slim which soared to the top of the charts in Europe.

Bell later moved to Washington State, working less frequently but helping acts such as Deniece Williams, the Temptations and Phyllis Hyman. He also briefly reunited with the Stylistics on their Closer Than Close album. Perhaps his best work of the decade was on Hyman’s Living All Alone album (he co-wrote and produced the chilling ballad, “Old Friend”).

In the 1990’s and beyond, Bell worked with artists as diverse as James Ingram, Angela Winbush, David Byrne and Joss Stone, while continuing to see his hit songs sampled and covered by countless artists.

In 1993, Thom received a star on the Philadelphia’s Music Alliance’s Walk of Fame. In 2006, he was inducted into The Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame. And in 2017, Thom was awarded the prestigious Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime body of work.

Sadly, Thom passed away on December 22, 2022, but his legacy and music will live on forever. Thom Bell left an indelible and everlasting mark on the history of popular music, but even more so, he will be remembered by all who knew him as a kind and loving friend and family man. The music world truly lost one of the greats.

John DeBella: John DeBella’s name has been synonymous with Philadelphia radio entertainment for over 47 years. John created comedy for The National Lampoon Radio Hour, the syndicated radio program that starred John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray and many others. As one of the originators of the Morning Zoo format, John’s morning show not only became an unprecedented number one rated show in Philadelphia, he also achieved the highest ratings in local radio history at that time. In addition to his nationally honored radio career, John has appeared as a stand-up comedian, is a local EMMY award winning host & producer, has co-anchored the Philadelphia Mummers Parade and has won numerous local service and humanitarian awards.

Along with his morning show on Classic Rock 102.9 WMGK, John heads Husky Productions, a local TV production company. John is married to his wife Lisa, a successful Main Line real estate agent and his son is a music producer in Nashville. He has one dog and all three types of fish (fresh water, salt water, and frozen).

James DePreist: James DePreist was born in Philadelphia on November 21, 1936. At the age of six, his father died, leaving him in the care of his mother, Ethel DePreist, and his aunt, the legendary contralto Marian Anderson. He earned the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Economics and Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania, with plans to go to law school. He had an avocational interest in music and he performed jazz while a student at the University. His award-winning jazz quintet appeared on national TV, and he established the first National Jazz Fraternity at the University of Pennsylvania. He also studied composition with Vincent Persichetti at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and composed several ballets. In 1962 DePreist traveled in the Middle East and Asia on behalf of the State Department as an American Specialist in Music. His tour of Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Egypt and Lebanon was so successful that he was invited to return the following year. It was during this 1962 tour that he realized that he wanted to devote his life to conducting. He contracted polio in Bangkok and was forced to return to the United States for physical therapy. While in the hospital, he continued his study of the orchestral repertoire in the hope that he would be able to conduct again. Six months later, walking with the aid of crutches and braces, he entered the 1963 Dimitri Mitropoulos International Music Competition for Conductors. The following year he entered the competition again and won first prize. He was selected by Leonard Bernstein to be an assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic for the 1965-66 season, becoming the first American Mitropoulos winner to serve as Bernstein’s assistant.

In 1967 DePreist moved to Holland, where he lived for three years. He made a successful European debut in 1969 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Following this success, he received many offers to guest-conduct in Europe and in North America, including several appearances with the Stockholm Philharmonic, which brought him rave reviews. During that same year he was awarded a Martha Baird Rockefeller grant.

DePreist became an associate conductor under Antal Dorati at the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. in 1971. He remained there until 1975, and the following year he accepted his first position at the level of music director with the Orchestre symphonique de Quebec, Canada’s oldest symphony orchestra. He was excited by the challenge of selecting his own repertoire and personally shaping an orchestra. He remained as music director until 1983, continuing to guest-conduct orchestras in Helsinki, Stockholm, Israel, and Toronto.

DePreist was named music director of the Oregon Symphony in 1980. He demonstrated that he was fully committed to transforming the Oregon Symphony into an orchestra of national prominence. Beyond his guidance as a conductor, he dedicated himself to the community of Portland. He was involved in fund-raising activities and added his influence to the effort to build a new performance venue, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he programmed a variety of contemporary works along with the standard orchestral repertoire and expanded the orchestra’s audience. He also made a series of recordings for Delos and Koch. Ovation critic Paul Turok wrote of Bravura, his first recording: “In less than a decade, James DePreist has built an orchestra of regional significance into one worthy of national, and perhaps even international, attention.” DePreist remained with the Oregon Symphony for twenty-four years. Although his final season was scheduled to be 2004-2005, he stepped down a year earlier to facilitate the search for a new conductor.

DePreist continued to be highly in demand, not only as a guest conductor, but also as a music director. He became principal conductor of the Malmo Symphony in Stockholm, Sweden from 1991 until 1994. During this period he recorded extensively for BIS with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Malmo Symphony. He also made a series of internationally acclaimed recordings of the Shostakovich symphonies with the Helsinki Philharmonic. His recording of the two Shostakovich cello concertos with soloist Torleif Thedeen and the Malmo Symphony won a 1995 Cannes Classical Music Award.

In 1994 DePreist became the musical director of the Orchestre philharmonique de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. He remained at this post until 1998, while continuing with his directorship of the Oregon Symphony and his many appearances as a guest conductor. Among these was his debut with the Boston Symphony in 1997, which led to a second invitation to conduct at the 1998 Tanglewood Music Festival. Additional summer festival appearances included the Aspen Music Festival, Wolf Trap, the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, and subsequent concerts at Tanglewood in 1999 and 2000. He made successful appearances with other major orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. In addition, he conducted the Baltimore Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony and the National Symphony, among others. DePreist also had an extensive list of international appearances. These include engagements with the Sydney and Melbourne orchestras in Australia, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in England, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne in France, and the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra. Following his retirement from the Oregon Symphony, he taught at Juilliard for eight years, during which time he also conducted the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

DePreist authored two books of poetry, This Precipice Garden, and The Distant Siren. He also wrote many articles for newspapers and magazines and frequently appeared as a public speaker. He was awarded fifteen honorary doctorates and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992. He was also a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

DePreist died on February 8, 2013, in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of 76. He was survived by his wife Ginette DePreist and two daughters, Tracy and Jennifer, from his first marriage to Betty Childress.

Kenneth Gamble: Born in Philadelphia on August 11, 1943, Kenny Gamble was always surrounded by music, and spent much of his youth working in the music industry. He cut his first records at local penny arcade recording booths, brought coffee to WDAS morning radio personalities Georgie Woods and Jimmy Bishop, and operated his own record store in South Philadelphia. In the early 1960’s, his harmony group, “Kenny Gamble and the Romeos,” had a regional hit with “Ain’t It Baby, Pt.1.” The Romeos’ lineup — which included songwriter Thom Bell and guitarist Roland Chambers — would establish a decades-long association between Kenny Gamble and his
songwriting/producing partner, Leon Huff.

Gamble and Huff quickly discovered their shared love of songwriting and composing. “When me and Huff first got together,” Kenny remembers, “the first time we wrote, we must have wrote ten songs. We were writing some songs for another group, the Sapphires. Ten songs in one sitting. And it’s been like that ever since.”

From that point onward, Gamble and Huff became the hottest independent R&B producing team of the late 1960’s. After some early successes with their own homemade labels, Gamble and Huff created “Philadelphia International Records” in 1971. Following a conversation with then-CBS Records president Clive Davis, PIR secured a distribution deal through America’s largest record label. Within a year of PIR first opening its doors, the O’Jays had #1 R&B and pop hits including “Backstabbers” and “Love Train”; Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes were riding high with “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”; and Billy Paul earned the label’s first Grammy with “Me and Mrs. Jones.”

During the early 1970’s, Philadelphia International Records was a dominant force in the R&B and pop music industries. By 1974, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell (the partners in PIR’s music publishing company, Mighty Three Music) placed over 25 songs on the pop and R&B charts, making Mighty Three Music the biggest-selling music publishing company of the year. Two years after its creation, Philadelphia International was the second-largest African-American-owned music company in America, just behind Motown. And CBS Records was now distributing more soul music than at any time in the company’s previous history.

One of Kenny Gamble’s proudest moments in Philadelphia International history involves a song and album he recorded with the entire PIR roster, “Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto.” The project featured the vocal talents of Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, the O’Jays, Lou Rawls, The Intruders, Dee Dee Sharp and Archie Bell. Young people were hired to pick up garbage, paint over graffiti, and sweep dirty street in their neighborhood. The successful project was initially endorsed by the mayors of Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis and Atlanta, then adopted by states throughout America. Among the proclamations the project received, one was from Pennsylvania governor Milton Shapp, who reserved one week in August each year for “Clean Up The Ghetto Week.”

The “Clean Up The Ghetto” campaign evolved into the realization of a special personal dream for Kenny Gamble: the renovation of his South Philadelphia neighborhood. With his Universal Companies, Gamble gave his old neighborhood a new lease on life. He opened a successful restaurant at 15th and Christian streets; after five years, it became a more successful bookstore. He purchased over 100 condemned and vacant properties, and provided construction jobs to local residents to fix up the properties – which are then rented to low-income and middle-income families. The area framed by Broad and 18th and Christian and South Streets is now thriving, thanks to the efforts of Kenny Gamble.

“The Universal Companies encourage economic growth that will help resurrect some of the small businesses in the area,” said Kenny in 1999. “The Universal Business Center is a place where small businesses can have a support system to help them thrive. We have the Universal Institute Charter School, which is an option to public education through the charter school system, which opened in September 1999 with 300 students. We have the Universal Community Employment Training Center, which has programs for adults to teach them job skills and provide job placement. It’s one thing to build a house, but we’re doing substantially more than that – we’re rebuilding a neighborhood and rebuilding the people in the neighborhood, so they can sustain the neighborhood. If we know better, we do better.”

Kenny Gamble’s charitable contributions are not limited to his neighborhood. He has provided contributions and support to the T.J. Martell Leukemia Foundation and the AMC Cancer Research Center and Hospital (when the latter organization honored Gamble with their Humanitarian Award in 1980, it was the first time that their award was bestowed upon and African-American individual).

He also sits on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Music Foundation, whose goal is to honor the legacy and accomplishments of singers, songwriters and musicians from the City of Brotherly Love.

Gamble and Huff and the PIR catalog have been bestowed with countless accolades and honors including the 1999 Trustees Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS & the Grammy Foundation) for their “significant contributions…to the field of recording.” As prolific songwriters for a host of artists, Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994. For their historic contributions to dance, soul and disco music, Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in September 2005. Gamble-Huff artists and productions have received multiple awards from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. Gamble and Huff were recipients of the prestigious Ivor Novello Award, presented in London by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, in 2006.

45 years after the duo’s very first collaborations, Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the newly-named Ahmet Ertegun Award (formerly the “non-performer category”), on March 10, 2008.

In November of 2010, Gamble and Huff were honored by the City of Philadelphia with the renaming of the block of South Broad Street they made famous to “people all over the world” as “Gamble & Huff Walk” in a special ceremony.

“We are truly blessed that the City of Philadelphia, which has inspired so many of our message songs throughout the decades, and which we are proud to say has been our home for so many years, feels we are worthy of such an honor,” said Gamble & Huff. “This is beyond our wildest dreams. It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Even with all these awards and accolades, Kenneth Gamble continues to write songs everyday, collaborating both with his longtime partner, Leon Huff, and developing other writers and producers in the Philadelphia area. With his current focus to improve the lives of others through his personal multimillion dollar investment back into the African-American community, his personal decision to move his wife Faatimah, his sons Caliph and Salahdeen and his daughter Princess Idia family back into his old neighborhood, Kenneth Gamble continues to make a difference both in music and life.

Leon Huff: From the first moment his fingers pounded on the “C” keys in the opening melody to “Back Stabbers,” Leon Huff helped create and bring the genre of Philadelphia soul music to the world. Along with his partner Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff wrote or co-wrote more than 3,500 songs in 45 years, including R&B #1 hits, pop #1 hits, gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters awards honorees.

Born in Camden, New Jersey on April 8, 1942, Leon Huff was exposed to music through his mother. “That’s how the piano got in our house,” Huff remembers. “We had our own piano, we were the only family on the block that had a big upright piano in the dining room, up against the wall. My mother taught me some of the basics, but I had some formal teaching through the school system and private lessons. I still like to go to the churches to hear good music.”

Huff participated in several “doo-wop” groups throughout Camden. One group Huff participated in, the Dynaflows; auditioned for Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour. Another group, the Lavenders, recorded a regional hit, “The Slide.”

While working with a Philadelphia productions duo, Johnny Madera and David White, Leon Huff received the opportunity to perform on sessions with his personal idols, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. “It was through Johnny Madera and David White, that I met Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich,” Huff recalls. “That was a blessing for me to be that fortunate to come in contact with these musical gods.”

Encouraged by Madera and White to expand his musical horizons, Huff began writing songs. He wrote the first major hit for Patty and the Emblems, “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl.” Leon Huff set up an office in the Schubert Theatre, where he met his future songwriting partner, Kenny Gamble. “Kenny was on the sixth floor and I was on the second,” said Huff, “and we used to pass each other in the elevator, but we didn’t know each other.”

Gamble and Huff later collaborated in Kenny Gamble’s band, the Romeos. The duo found they had common interests in songwriting and production, so Gamble and Huff formed a production company with offices in the Shubert Theatre; and began a songwriting partnership that exists to this day.

Their first hits were for local Philadelphia artists. “Expressway To Your Heart,” a Gamble-Huff collaboration inspired by a traffic jam on the Schuylkill Expressway, became the Soul Survivors’ biggest hit. Another Gamble-Huff collaboration, “Cowboys to Girls,” became the Intruders’ first #1 R&B hit and their first million-selling song. “The Intruders could really sing,” Huff remembered. “They could harmonize – it wasn’t really hard for us to rehearse them, once they got the parts, they knew the parts. They had the best harmony – I listen to their records now, and their harmony was just so good.”

By 1971, Gamble and Huff had formed their own label, Philadelphia International Records, and secured a distribution deal with CBS. With a stable core of artists – the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB, the Three Degrees, the Ebony’s and the Futures, Philadelphia International had monster hits almost from the first day of its inception.

Through the 1970’s, the Gamble-Huff collaboration provided major hits for other artists, including Lou Rawls, the Three Degrees, Shirley Jones and the Jones Girls, Thelma Houston, the Dramatics, Third World and the Soul Train Gang. In 1976, Gamble and Huff produced and co-wrote songs for the Jacksons’ first two post-Motown albums. Huff even released a solo album during this time period, “Here To Create Music,” with songs like Ain’t Jivin’, I’m Jammin’” receiving lots of club and dance airplay.

In 1989, Huff and Gamble received their first songwriting Grammy, as Simply Red’s interpretation of the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ classic “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” was awarded “Best Rhythm and Blues Song.”

On May 31, 1995, Gamble and Huff were inducted into the National Academy of Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. Songs that they have co-written and co-produced, tracks like “Back Stabbers,” “Cowboys to Girls,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “For The Love of Money,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “If You Don’t You Know Me By Now,” “Love Train,” and “TSOP” have received songwriters’ awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI).

Gamble and Huff and the PIR catalog have been bestowed with countless accolades and honors including the 1999 Trustees Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS & the Grammy Foundation) for their “significant contributions…to the field of recording.” For their historic contributions to dance, soul and disco music, Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in September 2005. As prolific songwriters for a host of artists, Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994. Gamble-Huff artists and productions have received multiple awards from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. Gamble and Huff were recipients of the prestigious Ivor Novello Award, presented in London by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, in 2006.

With a catalog that has lasted more than 45 years, Gamble and Huff continue to receive national and international accolades with the duo’s music being prominently featured on such top-rated shows as Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” “Dancing With The Stars,” and “American Idol,” which have showcased such Gamble and Huff produced hit recordings as “For The Love Of Money,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and others throughout their respective seasons.

45 years after the duo’s very first collaborations, Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the newly-named Ahmet Ertegun Award (formerly the “non-performer category”) on March 10, 2008.

In November of 2010, Gamble and Huff were honored by the City of Philadelphia with the renaming of the block of South Broad Street they made famous to “people all over the world” as “Gamble & Huff Walk” in a special ceremony.

“We are truly blessed that the City of Philadelphia, which has inspired so many of our message songs throughout the decades, and which we are proud to say has been our home for so many years, feels we are worthy of such an honor,” said Gamble & Huff. “This is beyond our wildest dreams. It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Leon Huff continues to produce and write songs to this day, and is never far from a piano or keyboard when the inspiration arises. He also watches as his son, Leon Huff Jr. (“Pop”), follows in his father’s footsteps, recording his own tracks that will someday be popular songs for the new millennium. Leon Huff himself continues to write and record songs daily. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife Regina, the love of his life. Leon continues to be “inspired, humbled and, more importantly, proud” of the music he co-created and its lasting impact on the world and people’s lives.

Patty Jackson: If you ask Philadelphians who their go-to source for news with a dose of entertainment is, they’re more than likely going to say multimedia personality, Patty Jackson. The same Patty Jackson who knows where to get the good barbeque in the city knows the Reading Terminal Market like the back of her hand and is known for her peach cobbler just as much as she is known for her soothing voice. Jackson, a South Philadelphia native, is a thirty-nine-year radio and multimedia veteran with no sign of slowing down.

Jackson began her career in broadcasting at WSSJ in Camden, New Jersey. From WSSJ, Patty went to Philadelphia’s country station WXTU, then to WUSL and in 1987 became a part of the WDAS family. In 1993, Patty decided to try another format and took a one-year hiatus to co-host mornings at WIOQ. After adding another facet to her broadcast history, Patty returned to her home at WDAS where she is currently the midday host, listeners can enjoy her iconic voice 10 am – 3 pm, Monday through Saturday. Patty’s mid-day radio show, her 4-1-1 feature, and her social media features including her wildly popular YouTube channel are all considered mandatory to Jackson’s growing base of loyal supporters.

In 2015 Jackson suffered a stroke that would change her life. Many questioned if Jackson would ever be able to bounce back to the personality they knew and loved. Jackson not only bounced back, she charged ahead with full speed and consistently credits God for her ability to tell her story and warn others of the importance of taking care of their bodies and their mental health.

Jackson, who was recently inducted into the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneer Hall of Fame, is an entertainment writer for the Philadelphia Tribune Magazine as well as the first voice many travelers from cities across the nation and around the world hear when they arrive in Philadelphia as she is Philadelphia International Airport’s official voice of welcome and information! Jackson’s latest achievements are being named one of the most influential Philadelphians, receiving the honor of having the 2300 block of Ellsworth renamed “Patty Jackson Way” in her honor, and being profiled in Philadelphia Magazine (she’s on page thirteen if you happen to pick up a copy or two).

Jackson continues to strive for greatness on-air and continues to reinvent herself with her growing YouTube channel and her successful “Patty and the Millennials” podcast. Jackson shows no sign of stopping because she loves what she’s doing and feels an obligation to inform others of the latest in entertainment culture because as Jackson would say “It’s not cute not knowing.”

Leslie Odom, Jr.: Leslie Odom, Jr. is a multifaceted Tony and Grammy Award-winning, three-time Emmy and two-time Academy Award-nominated vocalist, songwriter, author, and actor. With a career that spans all performance genres, Odom has received recognition for his excellence and achievements in Broadway, television, film, and music. He can currently be seen in Rian Johnson’s critically acclaimed Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, streaming worldwide on Netflix. Odom is currently in production on the highly anticipated sequel to the original iconic film The Exorcist. The film is scheduled to be released in October 2023. In 2020, Odom starred as legendary singer Sam Cooke in the award-winning Amazon film adaptation of One Night in Miami…, directed by Regina King. His portrayal of the soul icon and musical performance of original song “Speak Now” was met with widespread praise and critical acclaim, earning him multiple awards and nominations. He also starred in The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to David Chase’s award-winning HBO series The Sopranos, released in October 2021. Well known for his breakout role as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton, Odom hosted “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” on CBS in September 2021 (2022 Emmy nomination). Additional film and television credits include Apple TV+’s Central Park (2020 Emmy nomination), Hamilton on Disney+ (2021 Emmy nomination), Abbott Elementary, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, Love in the Time of Corona, Harriet, and many more. He is a BMG recording artist and has released four full-length albums. Co-written with Nicolette Robinson, Odom’s first children’s book, I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know, will be published by Feiwel & Friends on March 28, 2023.

Governor Rendell: After 34 years of public service, including 24 years as an elected official, Governor Rendell continues to pursue many of the same issues he was passionate about while serving. His commitment to making America a cleaner, more efficient place and to fostering investment in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure is as strong as it has ever been. Rendell has become a champion for progress in the area of alternative energy, and now serves as a consultant or board member for several green and alternative energy firms, including Own Energy, The Efficiency Network and He has also remained heavily involved in the campaign for government efficiency and strategic cost cutting through his work with entities such as Government Sourcing Solutions and Public Financial Management.

Perhaps no other issue has been and continues to be as important to Governor Rendell as America’s dire need to rebuild and reinvest in its infrastructure. As Governor, Rendell worked with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create an organization called “Building America’s Future.” The organization focuses on the need for a more significant investment in American infrastructure projects to ensure that America maintains its place as a global economic power. Governor Rendell currently serves as Co-Chair of the organization, along with Mike Bloomberg and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and travels throughout the country speaking about this issue.

In 2012, Governor Rendell penned his first book, A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great. In A Nation of Wusses, Rendell chronicles his storied political career with his trademark candor while making a strong statement about the state of American leadership.

Rendell served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011) and oversaw a budget of $28.3 billion as the chief executive of the nation’s 6th-most-populous state. As Governor, Rendell was committed to making government more responsible and responsive to the public’s needs, and he successfully cut wasteful spending and improved efficiency leading to savings of over $1 billion. His legislative agenda focused on commonsense political reform and putting progress ahead of partisanship. Through his unprecedented strategic investments, he energized Pennsylvania’s economy, revitalized communities, improved education, protected the environment, expanded access to health care to all children, and made affordable prescription drugs available to older Pennsylvanians.

During his two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia (1992-2000), Rendell eliminated a crippling deficit, balanced the City’s budget, and generated five consecutive budget surpluses. Philadelphia’s renaissance, which The New York Times called “the most stunning turnaround in recent urban history,” is largely attributed to his determination, inspiration, and energy.

Before serving as Mayor, Rendell was elected District Attorney of Philadelphia for two terms from 1978 through 1985. Rendell also served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 Presidential election. He currently sits on several boards, supports multiple non-profit organizations and teaches government and politics courses at the University of Pennsylvania. An Army veteran, he holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Villanova Law School.

The Tymes: The Tymes began as the Latineers in 1956. They were signed by Cameo-Parkway in 1963 releasing their hit record “So Much In Love” on August 3 of the same year. The song hit number one on the Billboard charts. The classic was also the first record to replace the Beatles in the number one slot on the British charts. “So Much In Love” is currently number 38 on Billboard’s all time record list. Their other most requested chart toppers include “Wonderful, Wonderful”, “Somewhere” and “You Little Trustmaker”. Two of the three present members are originals: Albert “Ceasar” Berry and Norman E. Burnett (over 50 years of experience and friendship together). John Stone recently joined the group. The Tymes, now known as The Original Tymes were the 2005 inductees of The Vocal Group Hall Of Fame Foundation in Youngstown, Ohio. They were also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award and Retro Artist award in 2017 by The American Music Guild. The Original Tymes were immortalized in 2010 with a past and present mural of the group on the outer wall of the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy, PA.

Today, The Original Tymes are still going strong. They have toured the UK, Australia, Alaska, Holland, France, Germany and Italy. They have made many television appearances on the PBS “Doo-Wop” presentations. The Original Tymes’ memorable melodies, close harmonies, classic staging and fluid choreography can bring you the joy that has been brought to fans throughout the country in countless concert appearances, such as the Philadelphia Kimmel Center and most recently to 120,000 fans who saw them perform at Radio City Music Hall. The beauty of their recorded material is only matched by their reputation as one of the most professional and smoothest live acts in the business. There is a reason that their peers refer to them simply as “silk”.

About the Philadelphia Music Alliance

Established in 1986, the Philadelphia Music Alliance is a community-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Philadelphia’s rich musical legacy by increasing awareness of the city’s great musical tradition and supporting the current music scene. Established by music executives and concerned citizens in order to recognize the vast contribution of Philadelphia to all the musical genres, the Philadelphia Music Alliance serves to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music.

Past PMA programs have included a Musical Instrument Donation Program in partnership with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, an annual piano competition, the Philadelphia International Airport Music Project, Music In The Schools, music education scholarships and grants, a speakers bureau, as well as music business seminars and workshops – all designed to not only to encourage our city’s continued stellar contributions to the cultural heritage of the world but to fill a void created by shrinking budgets for cultural programs in our city and in our schools.

The Alliance also serves as a resource to students, educators, musicians, city agencies, and other cultural institutions. The PMA has worked with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, Multicultural Affairs Council, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Philadelphia Commerce Department, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Franklin Institute, Corporation for the Aging, Trane Stop, University of the Arts and the City Representative’s Office on various projects.