Legendary songwriter and producer Kenny Gamble presses pause to talk Michael Bublé, gold records, and taking home one of Philly's top honors.
Philly music impresario Kenny Gamble, along with collaborator Leon Huff and longtime friend Patti LaBelle, takes home this year’s Marian Anderson Award in November.
Every morning that Kenny Gamble wakes up, he falls in love with Philadelphia all over again. The man behind the uplifting Sound of Philadelphia (Teddy Pendergrass, the O’Jays) and Philadelphia International Records is an architect of soul with a local touch. “There’s something in the water,” says Gamble, who also heads up the nonprofit education management and housing development, Universal Companies. He and longtime partner Leon Huff are in the process of writing a jukebox musical à la Jersey Boys featuring their catalog of hits and lesser-known gems. Sure to be featured prominently is the one thing Gamble’s milestones all have in common: Philadelphia. “Huff and I got our first gold records for what we wrote and produced in Philly, ‘Expressway to Your Heart’ by The Soul Survivors and ‘Cowboys to Girls’ for the Intruders.” Gamble’s dedication to this city makes him an obvious recipient of the 2016 Marian Anderson Award (along with Huff and old friend Patti LaBelle) on November 15 for his leadership impact. “I never met Ms. Anderson, but I always looked up to her for everything she did socially and musically,” he says. The songwriter is currently penning new material for crooner Michael Bublé. “I saw Bublé the last time he came through town, and I thought he was marvelous—the next Sinatra,” says Gamble, who recalls that the singer performed Gamble & Huff’s "Me and Mrs. Jones." "These are the sort of projects that Huff and I still crave."