Gamble and Huff: Philly Soul to Rock Hall of Fame

Sun Mar 9, 2008 3:36pm EDT
 
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By Steve James

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three years after The O'Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the two men who wrote and produced their biggest hit, "Love Train," will be joining them on Monday.

Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the architects of the Philly Soul sound of the 1970's, will be the first recipients of the Ahmet Ertegun Award, in memory of the late co-founder of Atlantic Records.

"It's a dream come true for me because I always wanted to become a songwriter," Huff said in a recent interview with Reuters.

Performers like the O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Intruders, the Three Degrees, Jerry Butler, Lou Rawls and Dee Dee Sharp recorded Gamble and Huff songs and made Philadelphia the capital of soul after Motown left Detroit and Memphis' Stax Records withered.

Along with "Love Train," their biggest hits were Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones," the theme for the television dance show "Soul Train," "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now," Simply Red's version of which earned Gamble and Huff the Best R&B Song Grammy.

The two are responsible for 70 No. 1 pop and R&B singles, 175 gold, platinum and multi-platinum records, five Grammys and more than 3,500 songs to date.

"I have seen the power of music and it is real," Gamble said. "A great song's got to make people feel good. When all the elements come together and you say, 'Turn that up a little bit.'

"Some songs might have hardly any words like 'shoo-bop, shoo-bop' with a good groove and be number one."   Continued...

 
<p>Kenny Gamble at the 2002 Essence Awards. Three years after The O'Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the two men who wrote and produced their biggest hit, "Love Train," will be joining them on Monday. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>