Leon Huff, who, along with Kenny Gamble and Thom Bell, founded the legendary Philadelphia International Records (PIR), was at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) on October 19th to witness the dedication of an exhibit that highlights 50 years of music produced by the record label and rightfully called “The Sound of Philadelphia”. The exhibit is located near Terminal A-East
Chuck Gamble, Vice President of Warner Chappell Music, represented his uncle, Kenny. He spoke fondly of his uncle’s contributions to music history, especially in Philadelphia. “They made a way for the music they wanted to make, and they helped so many other artists and composers gain recognition.”
Philadelphia Mayor Kenney was also on hand for the dedication. He noted that The Sound of Philly was “the music of his era” and recalled listening to the music of PIR while spending time at the Jersey Shore in his youth. But mainly, it reminded him that Soul Train (pronouncing it like the announcer did during its television run to the delight of the audience) used PIR music as its intro to the decades-long television program. “I never missed it,” he said chuckling.
During the ribbon cutting event, attendees and PHL passengers were treated to the music by many of the artists whose sounds were written and produced by PIR. Songs by Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass and the Spinners were featured by DJ MVP- his selection inspired impromptu dancing from those walking through and near the exhibit.
Huff expressed his gratitude to the City of Philadelphia and the Division of Aviation for offering the dedicated space in the airport in recognition of The Sound of Philly. He said, “It means a lot to know that everyone who passes this outstanding display will be reminded of the contributions that we made to the music industry.” Huff commented on his wish to establish a museum devoted to The Sound of Philadelphia and jokingly noted that the items on display would be “a great start” for his dream museum.
The PIR exhibit is scheduled to be on display for one year at PHL. After that, who knows-- it may be the first of many contributions to the Museum of The Sound of Philadelphia!