NEW YORK (March 2, 2011) – Legendary “Sound of Philadelphia” pioneers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, one of the most prolific professional songwriting teams of all time, have signed with William Morris Endeavor (WME) in all areas, including film, television, theater, books, and lecture appearances.
The announcement comes as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame icons are marking the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records, one of the most successful African-American-owned record labels of all time. In 2012 Gamble & Huff will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their historic songwriting partnership.
Songs Gamble & Huff have written and produced together include the hits “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train,” “For The Love Of Money,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Cowboys to Girls,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “Love Train,” “Me & Mrs. Jones,” and “TSOP” (better known as the “Soul Train” theme). Their songs comprise the most sampled R&B catalogue in the world, by artists such as Jay-Z, Usher, Cam’ron, Ja Rule, Jaheim, and Avant.
Having WME on their team marks the first time Gamble & Huff have enjoyed agency representation of this magnitude, despite having written and produced over 3,500 songs within 35 years, and amassing a catalogue that includes numerous pop #1 hits, R&B #1 hits, 100 gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters’ awards honorees.
“Our signing with William Morris is the first time in our career we have ever had an agent representing us,” said Gamble & Huff. “We are confident and honored, and are expecting great things to happen with this historic representation, partnership and collaboration to honor our life story and 50-year musical legacy.”
“It is an honor to be representing such prolific artists who have made an indelible mark on our culture and on global music history,” added WME Board member Mark Itkin. “We look forward to bringing the Gamble & Huff iconic body of work and brand into new businesses as we preserve their legacy.”
A hot independent R&B producing team in the late 1960s, Gamble & Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records in 1971. Almost from the day PIR first opened, its artists began to dominate the charts. Within two years, Philadelphia International was the second-largest African-American-owned music company in America.
Gamble & Huff have recorded and collaborated with a galaxy of stars from the pop, rock, soul and jazz universes, including Michael Jackson and the Jacksons, Elton John, Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Aretha Franklin, the Spinners, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Butler, Wilson Pickett, Labelle, Archie Bell & the Drells, the Soul Survivors, Laura Nyro, the Trammps, McFadden & Whitehead, Phyllis Hyman and Grover Washington Jr.
Their songs also have been covered by a myriad of artists including Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Bette Midler, Simply Red, Michael Buble, Johnny Mathis, Lesley Gore, Donny & Marie, Thelma Houston, the Brand New Heavies and recently, Rod Stewart, who sings four Gamble & Huff classics on his 2009 album, Soulbook.
Featured prominently in television programs (“The Apprentice,” “Cold Case”), films (“The Nutty Professor”) and advertising spots (Verizon, Chevrolet, Coors Light, Old Navy, The Gap, Office Max) for more than 30 years, Gamble & Huff’s songs have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. In 2005, Gamble & Huff appeared on American Idol in a show devoted entirely to their music. It is estimated that one of their songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes.
Gamble & Huff have been the recipients of numerous accolades for their extensive body of work. They are enshrined in five music Halls of Fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Academy of Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, the Dance Music Hall of Fame, and the R&B Hall of Fame. They have been honored by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with the Trustees Award as producers and songwriters, and for their contribution to the entire fabric of popular music.
In 2010, Gamble & Huff were presented honorary doctor of music degrees – their first together in a distinguished partnership that is nearing its 50th anniversary – at Berklee College of Music’s Commencement. A few months later, Gamble & Huff became the first people in Philadelphia history to be so honored on Broad Street with the renaming of a historic section of the city’s major artery as Gamble & Huff Walk.