PHILADELPHIA MUSIC ALLIANCE FOLLOWS MEGA-SUMMER CEREMONY
BY CONTINUING CELEBRATION OF CITY’S CULTURAL LEGACY WITH 5 NEW INDUCTIONS
BILLY PAUL, TAMMI TERRELL, DEE DEE SHARP, CHARLIE GRACIE, CLIFFORD BROWN
TO RECEIVE BRONZE PLAQUES ON PHILADELPHIA WALK OF FAME
Diverse G athering of Legends to be Honored at Festive Induction Ceremonies
along Avenue of the Arts, Thursday, October 23
The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame, a living tribute to Philadelphia’s rich music history and a vital force unifying the city’s diverse cultural communities along the Avenue of the Arts, will welcome five new inductees next week when R&B legend Billy Paul (“Me & Mrs. Jones”), Motown singer Tammi Terrell (“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”), pioneering teen idol Dee Dee Sharp (“Mashed Potato Time”), rock innovator Charlie Gracie (“Butterfly”), and influential jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown (Miles Davis, Charlie Parker) will be honored together as recipients of the 108th through 112th commemorative bronze plaques along the Avenue of the Arts. Ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday, October 23 from noon-2 p.m.
The induction of this diverse group of legends cements the renewed commitment by the Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA), supported by the Avenue of the Arts, Inc. (AAI), the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Philadelphia International Records and A Fight for the Cause ““ launched in June with the jam-packed Avenue induction of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly ““ to shed new light on the City’s cultural legacy and incredible contribution to the world of music past, present and future as a major tourist attraction. This agenda to recognize more local music greats is part of the community based, not-for-profit organization’s overall mission to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music, and the foundation of a new commitment to schedule several induction ceremonies each year, starting in 2009.
“We’re re-energizing our original mission of aggressively inducting artists in all genres whose accomplishments have had a significant impact in the world of music,” says Joseph Tarsia, vice president and founding member of the PMA. “The overwhelming reception at this summer’s induction ceremony re-affirmed the magnitude of the Walk of Fame and its continued impact on the Avenue of the Arts and Greater Ph iladelphia.”
Karen Lewis, executive director of AAI, said, “We’re excited about the resurgence of the Walk of Fame as it represents a unique opportunity to recognize Philadelphia legends. And as the premier destination for performing arts, the Avenue of the Arts is the perfect location for this tribute.”
Adds music icons and original inductees Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, creators of the Sound of Philadelphia:
“Philadelphia has created some of the biggest music stars in the world and their music continues to impact people’s lives. This induction continues to celebrate that legacy in a special way with artists who are clearly among Philadelphia’s Music Royalty, and are among the legendary unsung heroes and heroines deserving this honor.”
Jazz lovers were first introduced to Billy Paul with his first album Feelin’ Good at the Cadillac Club. His Grammy Award-winning No. 1 single “Me & Mrs. Jones” introduced him to the rest of the world. His later releases included “Thanks For Saving My Life” (1974), “Let’s Make A Baby” (1976) and “Let ‘Em In” (1977), the last of which adapted the Paul McCartney hit to emphasize lyrical references to Dr. Martin Luther King. Billy’s vocal versatility spans the spectrum of musical styles from jazz to sophisticated R&B to ballads, and continues to captivate audiences around the world.
Born in Philadelphia, Grammy nominated soul singer Tammi Terrell joined forces with the immortal Marvin Gaye to create some of the greatest love songs ever to emerge from the Motown hit factory, including the classics “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing,” and “You’re All I Need To Get By.” Tammi’s untimely passing in 1970 of a brain tumor just shy of her 25th birthday (first diagnosed when she co llapsed on stage in Gaye’s arms three years earlier) devastated all those who had come to know her, as she was destined to become one of the greatest female solo artists on the Motown roster.
DEE DEE SHARP
The first African-American female teen idol, Dee Dee Sharp was a fixture on Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars and worked with many of the major acts in the golden age of rock and roll. She appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and musically teamed up with the likes of Chubby Checker, Jerry Butler and Don Rickles. While working with Huga Management in the 1970s, she guided such artists as Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The O’Jays, Billy Paul and Teddy Pendergrass in their careers. Dee Dee’s gift of music has been a blessing to her church where she taught several choirs and formed a family Gospel group as part of her music ministry.
CHARLIE GR ACIE
Rock innovator Charlie Gracie was born in South Philadelphia and rose to stardom in the Rock Era with hits like “Butterfly,” “Fabulous”, “Wand erin Eyes” and “I Love You So Much It Hurts.” Charlie appeared regularly on American Band stand , the Ed Sullivan Show and Alan Freed’s TV specials. Still performing, he continues to tour all over the world. His versatility makes him the consummate music man.
An influential and highly rated American jazz trumpeter, Clifford Brown, aka “Brownie,” matched his technical expertise with an exhaustive range as a musician, playing with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. Clifford died at 25, leaving behind only four years’ worth of recordings. Nonetheless, the Wilmington, Del., native had a considerable influence on later players, including Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard, Valery Ponomarev, and Wynton Marsalis. Arturo Sand oval described Brown as “one of what we call the mand atory trumpet players” who was “one of the greatest trumpet players of all time.”
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The Philadelphia Music Alliance is poised to continue ushering in this glorious new chapter in its esteemed history by furthering the charitable programs started by Kenny Gamble and other founding music executives such as Kenny Gamble (Sound of Philadelphia), Joe Tarsia (Sigma Sound Studios), and PMA Chairman William F. Kennedy Jr.
Past PMA programs have included a Musical Instrument Donation Program in partnership with the Mr. Holland ‘s Opus Foundation, an annual piano competition, the Philadelphia International Airport Music Project, Music In The Schools, music education scholarships and grants, a speakers bureau, as well as music business seminars and workshops – all designed to not only encourage our City’s continued stellar contributions to the cultural heritage of the world but to fill a void created by shrinking budgets for cultural programs in our City and in our schools.
In July of this year, the Philadelphia International Airport unveiled an exhibition spotlighting the Walk of Fame and th e City’s contribution to American music to visitors from all over the world.
The Alliance also serves as a resource to students, educators, musicians, city agencies, and other cultural institutions. The PMA has worked with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, Multicultural Affairs Council, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Philadelphia Commerce Department, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Franklin Institute, Corporation for the Aging, Trane Stop, University of the Arts and the City Representative’s Office on various projects.
The Walk of Fame is a stunning demonstration of the great talent that Philadelphia has produced. This talent spans many musical genres and time periods, and includes Leopold Stokowski, Frankie Avalon, the Dixie Hummingbirds, Patti LaBelle, Hall & Oates, Solomon Burke, Marian Anderson, Mario Lanza, John Coltrane, Todd Rundgren, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Dick Clark.
The Philadelphia Music Alliance was founded in June 1986 as a community based, not-for-profit organiza tion dedicated to the preservation of Philadelphia as a vital contributor to the international music land scape. Established by music executives and concerned citizens in order to recognize the vast impact Philadelphia continues to have on all musical genres, the Philadelphia Music Alliance serves to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music.