Philly’s 4th Gift to the World: Philadelphia Sounds

Tonight’s gift from the 215 to the outside world is our unique legacy of music and musical events.*

First off in our whirlwind tour is a hat tip to the famous Philly Soul or Philadelphia Sound. Some sources talk about the style as so producer-driven as to obscure the artists who helped make this distictively smooth soulful music, but I don’t think Philadelphia will ever neglect to remember the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, and certainly not our (and Soul Train’s) special theme song, “TSOP.” Hey, folks, it’s not a coincidence that the Rhythm and Blues Foundation is based down on south Broad Street.

Then there’s the old Bandstand building up at 45th and Market. Without our homegrown teen music-and-dancefest there would have been no national run of American Bandstand, no Dick Clark’s Rocking Eve, no Soul Train–and we’d have been spared (for better or worse) a myriad other teen-focused music-and/or-dance celebrations. Closer to my own heart is the lineage from Bandstand to my favoritist of favorite John Waters movies. A world without Hairspray is not a world in which I wish to be.

Then there’s the eclectice bunch of pop and rock and hip-hop artists who link themselves to these environs. Even as I type, G.Love is declaring that he “Can’t Go Back to Jersey,” which is a sentiment with which this Mendham High School graduate can sympathize. I don’t recall Hall and Oates singing about their hometown (okay, there was that cover of “Philadelphia Freedom” on the Elton John/Bernie Taupin Two Rooms tribute album, but I’m trying VERY hard to repress that memory), but they sure talked about their local origins every chance they got. When Pink sang about “Going to California” on her huge break-out album, I was surprised to learn that her point-of-origin was right here.

Live Aid took place before they blew up the Vet. (Am I correct in remembering that they gave the opening slot to local boys-with-melodica** The Hooters?) Live 8—with appearances by local treasures the Declaration of Independence and Will Smith—happened right about the time we all started this Philly Metroblogging experiment. And through it all, Paul Green keeps teaching the kids how to rock’n’roll.

* This is totally the kind of category where what I omit will vastly outweigh what i have the time and typing energy to include, so please feel free to lambast me for who I should have included by adding comments!

** I used to own one of these.

1 Comment so far

  1. Marisa (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 11:40 pm

    I’m so glad you got Bandstand in there! Great post, thanks Sherri!



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