Legendary production duo and Philadelphia International Records founders Gamble & Huff have begun writing their autobiography, Billboard has learned exclusively. The definitive look back at the pair’s pioneering legacy is the latest project under a representation pact signed with William Morris Endeavor (WME) in 2011, covering all areas including film, TV theater and lecture appearances. Under the working title “The Sound of Philadelphia,” the publication is slated for late 2014 or early 2015.
Plans for the upcoming book prompted a reunion/meeting last week at Philadelphia International Records between Gamble & Huff and fellow songwriter/producer Thom Bell. The three are the principals behind the music publishing company Mighty Three Music. Currently owned by Warner/Chappell Music Inc., the catalogue includes such classics as “Back Stabbers,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “Me and Mrs. Jones,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and “For the Love of Money.” Beyond the book, discussions are under way about various other projects to celebrate the trio’s 50-year legacy over the next five years. Chief among the ideas under discussion: a stage musical.
Gamble thanks Berry Gordy’s “Motown The Musical” for opening the door. “The play brought back a lot of memories and shows how hard it was for an African-American owned company to make the strides it made,” Gamble tells Billboard. “It wasn’t easy.”
As for the book, it will naturally focus on the music and how, in Huff’s words, “we were able to complement each other in many ways.” Adds Gamble, “We all had one thing in mind: how can we make a living out of this music business we love so much.”
“All our energies were the same,” recalls Bell. “Banging on doors and having them slammed in our faces . that was fun. But it all clicked. We took the ride and good things happened.” Bell, who lives in Seattle, is also working on another project. He is planning a 2014 concert featuring his music (he’s also worked with the Spinners, Stylistics and others) in tandem with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.