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U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Philadelphia Music Scene


Philadelphia is known for lush soulful acts and is celebrated in MSFB's number one 1974 hit "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)." Notable acts that blossomed in the 1970s included The Three Degrees, Hall & Oates, The Stylistics, Evelyn "Champagne" King, Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. The history of the Philadelphia music scene has also included DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Boys II Men, Crystal Waters, Erykah Badu, The Dead Milkmen, Eve, Joan Jet, Toni Basil, The Tymes, Stanley Clarke, Blue Magic, Maze, McFadden & Whitehead, Britny Fox and Pretty Poison.

See also:

How to start a music project
Tips on how to produce music
Job of a live sound engineer
Affordable ways to promote music online
How songs become popular

Philadelphia Music Acts

Andrea Nardello * Automatic Fire * Bahama Jia * Bianca Ryan * Cherine * Daniel Collins * Danielle Alis * Dive * Gina Sicilia * Gina Sicilia * Hollow Shoulder * Inner Party System * Jay Young * Jerzy Jung * Katone * Karina Bradley * Krista Parrish * Leiana * Lisa Bennett * Lisa Bouchelle * Lukeja * Nora Eckler * Peace of Mind * PriscillaPaige * Rachel Ann * Res * Sherry Lynn * Steph Parker * Tatiana Barbosa * The Movement Vibe * Three Legged Fox * Tracy Delara * Washington's Crossing * Zelazowa

Local Highlights

Heidi Hamels, who was a contestant as Heidi Strobel on the the CBS TV series Survivor: The Amazon in 2003, has shifted her focus in 2018 on becoming a country songwriter for singer Sara Spicer. In 2006 Heidi married former Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, who moved on to the Texas Rangers, although they've continued to raise their family in Philadelphia. Their Hamels Foundation funds children's programs in Philadelphia and Africa. They have donated their $10 million property covering 100 acres of land in Missouri to a children's charity.

Philadelphia has a rich history with soul music. During the 1970s one of the top r&b labels was Philadelphia International Records, launched by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971 to compete with Motown from Detroit. The label was backed by CBS Records and like Motown, employed its own in-house arrangers and songwriters. As a songwriting team Gamble and Huff had written a string of national hits in the sixties.

Some of Philadelphia International's big artists included Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays and billy Paul. In 1974 the label's big hit "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) by MSFB helped usher in the disco era and became the theme song for the TV dance show Soul Train. The label continued to release records through the mid-eighties.

The labels had a huge impact on the local as well as the national r&b scene. It even impacted pop songwriters Daryl Hall & John Oates to help craft a genre that became known as "blue eyed soul" or "crossover music" in the 1980s. Hall & Oates started having national hits in 1977 with "Rich Girl" and "She's Gone." By the 1980s they had several big hits that served as "bridge tracks" for night club DJs and radio stations to mix between soul and pop/rock records. They became one of the biggest selling recording acts of all time from Philly.

Philadelphia has been one of the most mentioned American cities in popular music. Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom" was a number one hit in 1975 and remains one of the city's most popular tribute songs. Other songs that mention the place where the Declaration of Indepedence was signed include "Bandstand Boogie" by Barry Manilow, "Rock N' Me" by Steve Miller Band, "The Heart of Rock and Roll" by Huey Lewis & The News, "Sweet Little Sixteen" by Chuck Berry, "Motown Philly" by Boyz II Men and "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen.

A Stereo Gum article called Philadelphia the capital of American rock music on June 8, 2015. It talked about how public radio station WXPN has had an influence on the local music scene going back to popularizing the Dead Milkmen in the 1980s. Assistant station manager Bruce Warren created "The Key" in 2010 for the station website where local talent can get exposure.









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