‘The Sound of Philadelphia’ Doc, on Gamble, Huff and Bell, Due

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The Mighty Three outside their Sound of Philadelphia HQ (Photo via Kenny Gamble’s Facebook page)

The legacy of behind-the-scenes music legends Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell is being explored in a new documentary, The Sound of Philadelphia. The feature length film was announced by Warner Music Entertainment, Warner Chappell Music, and Imagine Documentaries, in partnership with Jigsaw Productions. The Feb. 2, 2022 announcement describes the documentary as “celebrating the creation of music’s most symphonically seductive genre, Philly Soul. The never-before-told story will chronicle the enduring legacies of [the] musical icons as they developed their timeless sound, which would go on to influence generations of artists and songwriters and change the music industry forever.”

The Oscar and Emmy award-winning executive producer Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Men in the Room) has signed on to the project, along with Peabody and Emmy award-winning director Sam Pollard (Mr. Soul!, Sammy Davis, Jr: I Gotta Be Me). The film will also be executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard of Imagine, among many others.

The Sound of Philadelphia will include exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage featuring the groundbreaking songwriters and producers Gamble, Huff, and Bell – known as “The Mighty Three.”

As the founders of the legendary record label Philadelphia International Records, and creators of “The Sound of Philadelphia” (TSOP), the documentary will explore how they crafted their unique sound and music business prowess. With a catalog spanning more than 3,500 songs, “The Mighty Three” wrote and produced such genre-defining hits as “Love Train” by The O’Jays, “If You Don’t Know Me Now” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul, “Rubberband Man” by the Spinners, “You Are Everything” by The Stylistics, and “TSOP” by MFSB and the Three Degrees – famously known for its use as the Soul Train theme song.

The documentary will further explore Gamble, Huff and Bell’s roll in producing and writing major hits with world renowned artists such as the Jacksons, Dusty Springfield, Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle, Nancy Wilson, The Temptations and the Supremes collaboration, Elton John and many more. The documentary will bring to light the meteoric rise to fame of three trailblazers from the streets of Philadelphia and Camden, all while channeling their iconic success back into the community.

In a shared statement, Gamble, Huff and Bell said: “After six decades, we are incredibly proud to finally share our life stories with the world and showcase all the hard work that has gone into creating this great music. Our longtime fans and new fans will get a unique look into the creation of the Sound of Philadelphia with the themes of empowerment and love, to ‘people all over the world’ as we’ve always had a ‘Message in our Music’.”

Gamble was born on Aug. 11, 1943 in Philadelphia. Huff was born on Apr. 8, 1942, in Camden, NJ. Bell was born on Jan. 26, 1943, in Jamaica and moved to Philadelphia as a child.

In 1967, Gamble and Huff wrote and produced their first top 5 hit, “Expressway to Your Heart” by the Soul Survivors. In 1968, they repeated the feat with “Cowboys to Girls,” a top 10 single by the Intruders. Scores of hits followed, including “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and “The Love I Lost” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the first two albums for the Jacksons after they left Motown for Epic Records, and “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” by Lou Rawls.

Related: Harold Melvin and Teddy Pendergrass’ legacy recalled

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