Not all records classified as Philly Soul come from Philadelphia-based artists, though all share characteristics – orchestral string arrangements married to rhythm and blues with a funk influence that bridged the way toward disco. Here are thirty examples of the genre, with the songwriting-production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff working on the lion’s share of these releases.
This Throwback Thursday we revisit 1972. What happened in music in 1972?:
Michael Jackson had the first of 13 solo US #1 Hot 100 singles with a song about a rat.
Chuck Berry had his first US #1 single with a song about his penis.
Roberta Flack spent six weeks at #1 on the US Hot 100 with a song she released in 1969.
Helen Reddy rerecorded a song from her 1971 album I Don’t Know How To Love Him. It became the first of her three US #1 Hot 100 singles and became an anthem for women’s equality.
The Staple Singers scored their first of two US #1 Hot 100 hits with a classic song that had only one verse.
Neil Young scored his only US #1 Hot 100 single.
Some of the other classic singles to peak in 1972 are “American Pie,” “Let’s Stay Together,” “Me & Mrs. Jones,” “Without You,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Alone Again (Naturally),” “Lean On Me,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” “School’s Out” and “The Harder They Come.”
David Bowie released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The Rolling Stones released Exile on Main St.
Elton John released Honky Château.
As far as music goes, I’d say 1972 was pretty pretty pretty pretty good. Even the bad songs were good! Here are thirty highlights.
“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963
“He had a dream now it’s up to you to see it through, to make it come true” – “King Holiday”
Inspired by the April 8 birthdays of Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, The 1975’s Matty Healy, Biz Markie, L7’s Donita Sparks, Hinds’ Carlotta Cosials, and composer Fred Ebb (Cabaret, New York New York), and the passing of John Prine.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared June Black Music Month. In 2016, President Barack Obama, who recognized the month as African-American Music Appreciation Month, said the music of African-American artists helped the country “to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.” Today’s Tunes du Jour playlist embodies that sentiment.
Nineteen seventy-five was a pivotal year for disco music. The genre was still very young; the name “disco” as a reference to the music genre was coined just two years earlier by journalist Vince Aletti. Disco music crossed over into the mainstream with more frequency, yet was not as ubiquitous a presence on the pop charts as it would become in the ensuing years of that decade. Artists who had their first top 40 singles in 1975 include Gloria Gaynor and KC and the Sunshine Band. In December of 1975, Donna Summer made her first appearance on the Hot 100 when “Love to Love You Baby” made its debut, having already been a smash in the clubs. The Bee Gees updated their sound in 1975 with “Jive Talkin’,” which became their first top ten single since 1971. Ben E. King, who had hits in the early 1960s as a solo artist and as the lead singer of The Drifters scored his first top ten pop hit since 1961’s “Stand By Me” with the funky “Supernatural Thing.” As the lead singer of the trio named after her, Patti LaBelle scored her first top ten hit in over a decade with “Lady Marmalade.” Veteran acts such as Frankie Valli, The Temptations, The Miracles, The Isley Brothers and Esther Phillips filled the dance floors. And it was in 1975 that the world was doing the hustle.
Today’s playlist is made up of forty disco gems from 1975.