Alex Gibney to produce new documentary on Philadelphia International Records’ disco groove

The Sound of Philadelphia shines a spotlight on the disco soul outfit founded by the legendary Gamble & Huff & Bell.

A production team has announced a new documentary film shining a spotlight on Philadelphia International Records.

The Sound of Philadelphia focuses on R&B, disco and soul songwriters and producers Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell, according to a release from Warner Music Entertainment, Warner Chappell Music and Imagine Documentaries in partnership with Jigsaw Productions. Billboard was the first to report the story.

The film will be produced by prolific documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, who previously made films on subjects from Enron, Steve Jobs, Scientology and Stuxnet, plus director Sam Pollard, executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and more.

“After six decades, we are incredibly proud to finally share our life stories with the world and showcase all the hard work that has gone into creating this great music,” Gamble, Huff and Bell said in a joint statement. “We are even more excited to be working with the incredible teams at Imagine and Warner Music, as well as Alex Gibney and Sam Pollard. Our longtime fans and new fans will get a unique look into the creation of the Sound of Philadelphia with the themes of empowerment and love to ‘people all over the world’ as we’ve always had a ‘Message in Our Music!’”


Philadelphia International Records — broadly known as Philly International or PIR — was founded in 1971 by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell. The label would release some of the best records from the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass and Philly International “house band” Mother Father Sister Brother, aka MFSB. Their “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” regarded as the quintessential Philly soul song became the television theme song for Don Cornelius‘ Soul Train and became the first TV jingle to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Cornelius declined to let Gamble & Huff use the name “Soul Train” to market the single, which he later came to regret.)


Comments are closed.