Press Releases

Philadelphia Music Alliance Welcomes Jill Scott, Sister Sledge, Labelle (Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx), McFadden & Whitehead, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Soul Survivors, Chris Schwattz & Joe Nicolo (Ruffhouse Records), and WOGL’s Bob Pantano As Inductees To The Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame, Class of 2017

Clockwise from Top Left: Jill Scott, Sister Sledge, Labelle, McFadden & Whitehead, DJ Bob Pantano, The Soul Survivors, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Chris Schwartz & Joe Nicolo.


Honorees to be Inducted and Celebrated Oct. 4, 2017 With Afternoon Ceremony and Evening Grand Gala

PHILADELPHIA (Aug. 3, 2017) – The Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA) today announced that Jill ScottSister SledgeLabelle (Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx)McFadden & WhiteheadSister Rosetta TharpeThe Soul SurvivorsChris Schwartz (Ruffhouse Records), and WOGL air personality Bob Pantano will be added to the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame as members of its Class of 2017. They will be formally inducted together October 4, 2017 during afternoon ceremonies along the Avenue of the Arts, and celebrated that evening with a special grand gala event at the Fillmore Philadelphia.

Tickets for the 2017 Philadelphia Music Alliance Gala Dinner at the Fillmore are on sale NOW through the following link:

“The 2017 honorees represent powerhouse vocals, signature anthems, soulful vibes, and production firsts within the R&B, pop and rock genres, with an emphasis on powerful and decorated women in music,” said PMA vice chair Mia Tinari, in making the announcement.

“This year, we are fortunate to be able to illustrate, through our honorees, the soul of the city, and why Philadelphia has been and continues to be the number one city for extraordinary and award-winning talent,” added PMA executive Board member Randy Alexander.

“Our inductees, this year, span the decades, through the power of soul, from the 1930s to the present.” added PMA Board Chairman Alan Rubens.

The Class of 2017 is:

  • Jill Scott is a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best-selling poet, and critically acclaimed actress. The platinum-selling triple threat began her career collaborating in the late ’90s with Philly musical icons The Roots and Will Smith, as well as Common, and has garnered #1 albums that include The Light In The Sun and her most recent release, WOMAN.
  • Sister Sledge formed in 1971 as a Philadelphia vocal group among siblings Kathy, Kim, Debbie, and Joni Sledge as symbols of strong family values, and achieved international superstardom at the height of the disco era with their 1979 breakthrough album, “We Are Family,” and its No. 1 smash title track, the Grammy-nominated anthem of togetherness written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the disco group Chic. Though the group scored several other hits into the next decade, the prevailing strength of We Are Family has enabled the sisters to perform for President Clinton to Pope Francis, while continuing to flourish on top stages around the world.
  • Labelle (Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx) formed as a funk-rock female vocal group in 1971 following the departure of Cindy Birdsong from the original group, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, to join the Supremes. Adding glam-rock to their unique mix in the mid-’70s, Labelle’s enduring proto-disco anthem “Lady Marmalade” propelled them to become the first contemporary pop group and first black group to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House and the first black vocal group on the cover of Rolling Stone.
  • McFadden & Whitehead (Gene McFadden & John Whitehead) was a songwriting, production, and recording duo, best known for their signature anthem, the No. 1 Grammy-nominated smash “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.” They also wrote and produced some of the most popular R&B hits of the 1970s for Philadelphia International Records, including “Backstabbers,” “Bad Luck,” “Wake Up Everybody,” and “I’ll Always Love My Mama.”
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe, is considered “The Godmother of Rock and Roll,” for her highly significant role in the creation of rock as a guitar-playing gospel star from the 1930s to the ’60s, with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Little Richard and Chuck Berry citing her as an inspiration.
  • The Soul Survivors (Richie Ingui, Charlie Ingui and Kenny Jeremiah) were formed as a vocal group in New York, but they adopted Philadelphia as their home in 1967, when “Expressway to Your Heart,” currently marking its 50th anniversary, became the first “Sound of Philadelphia” hit for its legendary architects, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff.
  • Chris Schwartz & Joe Nicolo made their hip-hop bones in the mid-1980s, as the manager and recording engineer respectively for pioneer (and future Walk of Famer) Schoolly D. But it was their label partnership, Ruffhouse Records, that brought them to hip-hop dominance in the 1990s, with a string of impressive signings and hits from Cypress Hill, Tim Dog, Kriss Kross, and The Fugees, which included the solo careers of Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean.
  • Bob Pantano is the host of the Saturday Night Dance Party on 98.1 WOGL, the first and longest running radio dance party in the nation, now celebrating 40 years. Its top-rated, generation-spanning success has earned the South Philly native the moniker, “Mr. Saturday Night,” as he continues to enthrall and entertain Delaware Valley audiences every weekend on his pioneering live broadcast.

In addition, the PMA is honoring Anne Ewers with the Platinum Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Philadelphia Music Community. The Platinum Award is given to an individual, organization or company that has been a leader and champion in supporting the music making community in a significant way. As president & CEO of Kimmel Center, Ms. Ewers oversees operations of the Kimmel Center and the Merriam Theatre and manages the Academy of Music and launched the city-wide Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, drawing over 1 million attendees and driving $100 million into the region’s economy.

The announcements were made during a press reception hosted by the Independence Visitor Center and Live Nation – two of this year’s major sponsors.

About the Philadelphia Music Alliance

The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame, recently proclaimed an official landmark by Philadelphia City Council, is a living tribute to Philadelphia’s rich music history and a vital force unifying the city’s diverse cultural communities along the Avenue of the Arts, with a renewed commitment to shed new light on the City’s cultural legacy and incredible contribution to the world of music past, present and future as a major tourist attraction. This agenda to recognize more local music greats in all genres is part of the community based, non-profit organization’s overall mission to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music, and the foundation of a renewed commitment to schedule induction ceremonies each year.