Philadelphia International Records
In 1971, Gamble and Huff founded PIR as the outlet for their creative vision. Building a stable of Philly-based talent — including Patti LaBelle, Archie Bell & the Drells, Jerry Butler, the Ebonys, The Intruders, The O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB, The Three Degrees, Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, to name a few — PIR recordings reached the tops of the charts from day one, at one point selling more than 10 million records in a nine month period, with hits like Billy Paul’s “Me & Mrs. Jones,” a Grammy-winning #1 pop and R&B smash, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” and the O’Jay’s “Backstabbers” and “Love Train.”
PIR became the birthplace, incubator and launching pad for the Philly Soul sound, a unique blend of R&B rhythms, sweet soul vocals, deep funk grooves, pulsing horn charts and lush string arrangements with melodic structures combining elements of pop, jazz and world music. A sophisticated sound lovingly crafted in the studio by some of the 20th century’s most influential producers and production teams — including Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell, Linda Creed, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead, Bunny Sigler, Dexter Wansel, Joe Tarsia and others — Philly Soul set the stage for disco, smooth jazz, adult contemporary music and more.
Having been covered or sampled by a vast array of artists including Jay-Z, Babyface, Nelly, OutKast, Angie Stone, Simply Red (whose 1989 version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” was a #1 record earning Gamble and Huff the Best R&B Song Grammy), Bette Midler, Mary J. Blige, Michael Buble, Kanye West, 50 Cent and T.I., among many others, Gamble and Huff songs and productions have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. It has been reported that one of Gamble and Huff’s songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes.