The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame Class of 2008
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 Philadelphia."
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 collapsed 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.
Rock innovator Charlie Gracie was born in South Philadelphia and rose to stardom in the Rock Era with hits like "Butterfly," "Fabulous", "Wanderin Eyes" and "I Love You So Much It Hurts." Charlie appeared regularly on American Bandstand, 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 Sandoval described Brown as "one of what we call the mandatory trumpet players" who was "one of the greatest trumpet players of all time."
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