Fri. Nov. 17, 2017 - 08:23 AM CET

10 essential Philadelphia International Records gems

10 essential Philadelphia International Records classics10 essential Philadelphia International Records gems… The establishment of an identity happened to be the ultimate key word by the end of the 70’s. Be it musically with the arrival of producers settin’ up a distinctive sound. As visually with trends applying to social if not political categories. With the same applying for many independent structures which came to symbolize what a label is supposed to be… An entity synonymous with a certain standard of quality!

Among them and without an oz. of a doubt, Philadelphia International Records. A structure which, during its 15 years of activities, has pretty much contributed to the evolution of music with the establishment of the Philly Sound. A distinctive sound synonymous with the best in Disco and Soul vibes. But also pretty much illustrative of a unique state of mind. A spirit that saw people hailing from different horizons coming together as one, as King Britt explained me back in the day. From the Rednecks on guitars, to Jewish and Italian classically trained musicians on chords and strings. Not to mention the Blacks on rhythm sections…

No need to say how this selection is way from being exhaustive. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of jams which have contributed making P.I.R. one of the most brilliant and enlightening ventures in the establishment of music such as we’ve known since then…

Wishing you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did, while putting this together for you. With your feedback, and a mention of your favorite song more than welcome…

10 essential Philadelphia International Records gems / Teddy Pendergrass – Love TKO (PIR)
Cecil Womack and Gip Noble, Jr. wrote ‘Love TKO’. It first appeared on David Oliver‘s ‘Here’s To You’ album back in 1980. The song would nevertheless got to higher recognition the same year with Teddy Pendergrass performing it on his ‘TP’ album. The former Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes‘ lead singer scoring one of his biggest successes ever with it.
Countless luminaries have covered it since then. From Regina Belle, to Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald and Seal to name a few. Ahmad Lewis using its melody on a remix of his 1994 song, ‘Back In the Day’. And Xscape sampling it on their remix of ‘Who Can I Run To’ the year after…
10 essential Philadelphia International Records gems / Lou Rawls – You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine (PIR)
The most remembered Philadelphia Sound reachin’ one of its definitive peak times. From his 1976 ‘All Things In Time’ album. An opus that would mark Rawls‘ debut on PIR, eventually becoming his greatest success. Meanwhile, ‘You’ll Never Find Nother Love Like Mine’ stands as his biggest selling single ever.
A man speakin’ of which Frank Sinatra said he had “the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game”. Therefore finding the ideal environment with label heads Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in charge of its production…
10 essential Philadelphia International Records gems / McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now (PIR)
From their eponymous album… PIR famous songwriting and production pair Gene McFadden & John Whitehead makin’ their debut under their own guise back in 1979. Therefore delivering their biggest classic with the positive and inspiring ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’. A jam which perfectly recaptures the way we feel for quality music here on IDMW. Late US radio presenter and recording artist Douglas Wendell Henderson, Sr. (Jocko), eventually gave it a Rap / spoken word answer titled ‘Rhythm Talk’ (also on PIR). Meanwhile, Hispanic NYC outfit Charanga 76 soon after gave it a cover version by the likes of ‘No Nos Pararan’.
‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ also most likely inspired Italian singer Pino D’Angio the year after with the memorable ‘Mi Quale Idea’.
10 essential Philadelphia International Records gems / Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Don’t Leave Me This Way (PIR)
Written by PIR label heads Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff along with Cary Gilbert, this song first appeared back in 1975 as a part of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes‘ ‘Wake Up Everybody’ album with Teddy Pendergrass responsible for the lead vocals.

Strangely enough, it didn’t get released as a single Stateside, although it happened to be one of the group’s biggest classics.
It would nevertheless reach further heights as sung by Thelma Houston the year after. (*) It eventually became an unofficial theme song for the AIDS epidemic in the gay male community in the beginning of the 80’s (* Wikipedia).

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