The Soul of Philadelphia International
Welcome to the third in a short series of programmes where we look at the music of four of the most influential soul music labels of the twentieth century. The Philadelphia label founded in 1971 by the writing and production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff who were hugely influential in creating the music genre often referred to as Philly Soul. In 1966 the pair created the independent Excel label in America and in 1972 was bought by the Philadelphia International umbrella that was responsible for releasing a string of worldwide hits from their artists that included The O'Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Billy Paul, The Three Degrees and Lou Rawls. In the UK, it wasn't until 1974 that Philadelphia International was given its own identity having previously had their material issued on CBS who continued to distribute their product until 1976 when a deal was set up with EMI. Philadelphia International set benchmarks for quality and style, during the Seventies, in the same way that Motown had achieved during the previous decade.