A Half Dozen Inductees Strut the Walk of Fame

Rashod D. Ollison, Inquirer Staff Writer

Three years since its last ceremony, the Philadelphia Music Alliance yesterday inducted a half dozen more of the city’s musical legends into its Walk of Fame.

The honorees – whose 12-by-16-inch bronze plaques were added to those honoring the other 100 inductees on Broad Street between Locust and Spruce – ranged from a 1950s teen idol to the cowinner of the first Grammy for rap.

Present at the afternoon ceremony outside the Doubletree Hotel were South Philly teen star Fabian Forte, 57; Rob Hyman, 43, and Eric Bazilian, 47, former University of Pennsylvania students who founded the ’80s band the Hooters, and producer “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes, 35, who with the Fresh Prince (now better known as Will Smith) won a Grammy in 1988 for “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

Also on hand to see their plaques unveiled were Kal Rudman, 70, publisher of the Cherry Hill-based radio- and record-industry publication Friday Morning Quarterback, and composer and arranger Russell Faith, 58, of Bucks County.

Faith, who has written for artists from Frank Sinatra to Loretta Lynn, received a PMA Founders Award in 1994.

A modest crowd braved frequent gusts of wind to hear the short but sweet acceptance speeches.

“Yo, Jazzy Jeff!” screamed one proud fan. “That’s my boy right there!”

Another onlooker waved a dog-eared copy of the Hooters’ 1985 album Nervous Night.

“Music lives in Philadelphia,” Faith told the crowd, “and Philadelphia lives because of the music.”

At a reception after the ceremony, Townes flashed his boyish grin often.

“To be honored by my hometown means so much,” said the producer, who grew up in West Philadelphia. “I had so many opportunities and temptations to start my career out in California, but I said, ‘No, got to stay in Philly.’ I get nothing but love here.”

Townes is basking in the recent success of the gold-selling debut by North Philly’s Jill Scott, which he produced in his Old City recording studio, A Touch of Jazz.

Unlike earlier PMA inductions, this year’s class included neither classical nor jazz representatives.

Erin Riley, a spokeswoman for the music alliance, said that the artists recognized at the group’s next ceremony (April) would be more diverse.