8 More Stars to Glisten in Music’s Walk of Fame – The Honorees Include a Classical Pianist and Groups Involved In TSOP, “The Sound of Philadelphia”.
Joe Logan, Inquirer Staff Writer
Bronze plaques for eight more inductees were unveiled on a red carpet along the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Walk of Fame yesterday to honor contributions by local musical acts ranging from the late classical concert pianist Natalie Hinderas to the popular ’70s singing group the Delfonics.
“If I don’t get another award for the rest of my life. This is the award for me,” Delfonics singer Randy Cain told the 200 or so music fans, family members and entertainment industry types who gathered at the Academy of Music over a muggy lunch hour for the eighth annual induction ceremonies.
With yesterday’s inductions, 81 bronze plaques now grace the Walk of Fame, which stretches along both sides of South Broad Street, from Pine to Locust Streets, in the area now known as the Avenue of the Arts – or at least they would grace the sidewalk. Because of construction in the area, the plaques have been temporarily placed in storage until the work is complete early next year.
Yesterday’s ceremonies were to culminate in a gala awards banquet last night at Terminal D of Philadelphia International Airport, where the Music Alliance was expected to unveil its latest project: a 70-minute, 15-song recording of popular local acts, from Boyz II Men to Frankie Avalon, intended to acquaint 40,000 travelers a day with the city’s musical contributions.
As for yesterday’s Walk of Fame ceremonies, many of this year’s inductees have played integral roles in the string of successful artists and hits of the ’60s and ’70s that came to be known around the country as TSOP, or “The Sound of Philadelphia.”
The Delfonics’ Cain, with brothers Wilbert and William “Poogie” Hart, who were central figures in TSOP, first sang together in 1965 as the Four Gents. But they truly burst onto the musical scene big-time in 1968, reborn as the Delfonics, with their debut hit “La La Means I Love You,” before going on to have 10 hits on the charts, including “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind” and “Ready Or Not Here I Come.”
Other inductees included the red-hot rhythm section that backed up the Delfonics: Baker, Harris & Young, composed of Ronnie Baker, Norman Harris and Earl Young. Baker, Harris & Young, who also cut “Saturday Night Fever” and ”Disco Inferno” as The Trammps, laid down the musical tracks for other TSOP groups such as the O’Jays, Jerry Butler, Billy Paul and The Three Degrees.
Also on hand was inductee Joe Tarsia, who founded Sigma Sound studios in 1968. He was the engineer at the controls for many of the top TSOP groups, including the Delfonics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Stylistics, the O’Jays and Teddy Pendergrass, in addition to Bonnie Raitt, Grace Jones and David Bowie.
Hinderas, the late classical pianist, went on stage at age 8 and toured the world to acclaim as a soloist for years before ultimately returning home to settle down and teach at Temple University.
Also inducted was Chester native David Bromberg, who wowed audiences for two decades as a jazz, folk, rock and bluegrass virtuoso. His acoustic albums, such as Demons in Disguise, generated a large following in the ’70s. Bromberg, who was in town for the ceremonies, stopped performing four years ago and lives in Chicago, where he makes and sells violins.
Also in town was Robert Marcucci, who with partner Peter DeAngelis discovered and nurtured Philadelphia teen idols Fabian and Frankie Avalon, as well as crooner Al Martino. Marcucci, a South Philadephian, now lives in Los Angeles, where he is a TV and film producer.
Finally, McCoy Tyner, the Philadelphia native who went on to international acclaim as a jazz pianist and composer, was in Pittsburgh for a performance yesterday and could not attend the ceremonies.