At NABOB Dinner: Leon Huff, Maxwell, Hezekiah Walker, Kenny Gamble & Rev. Al Sharpton (Photo: Adria Diane Hughes)

*It was a nostalgic walk down memory lane as the Philly Soul Sound was feted at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.  

The power brokers of urban radio and television came together to celebrate, music icons Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, the architects of that sophisticated soul genre that produced hits ranging from The O’Jay’s “Love Train” to Patti LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew” and the late Teddy Pendergrass’ “Close the Door.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producing and songwriting duo, Gamble & Huff, took home the coveted Pioneer Award for their 40+ years of hit making at the 26th annual National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) Annual Communications Awards Dinner.

The View’s Sherri Shepherd and R&B superstar Maxwell were among the star-studded celebrities in attendance.

A special highlight of the mystical night of music was Peabo Bryson, Joe and Johnny Gill’s exhilarating musical tribute to Gamble & Huff protégé and R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass (who passed away in January) that had the whole audience up on its feet, whistling and clapping them on.

“Were very proud and honored to have received the 2010 NABOB award, said Gamble & Huff.  Being acknowledged by this organization is a very important achievement for us and the Sound of Philadelphia, as broadcasting and NABOB’s role has always been the main catalyst in having our music heard across the country for over 40 years. We feel Black radio will always be considered America’s pulse in music, as well as, the “Message in the Music.”

Gamble & Huff have written over 3,000 songs during their career which has seen them write hit songs for the likes of Diana Ross & the Supremes’ “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” to Labelle’s 2008 comeback CD Back to Now. Their Philadelphia International Record label has earned over 50 gold and platinum records for top-shelf acts such as Lou Rawls, The O’Jays, Patti LaBelle, Billy Paul, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The Three Degrees and The Jones Girls. Their music has also been featured in advertising campaigns for The Gap, television programs such as Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” and films such as Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor.” Gamble & Huff are to `70s a soul what Motown was to `60s R&B. Gamble and Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records and created monster hits almost from the first day of its inception. Songs they have written and produced together, like “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train,” “For The Love Of Money,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Cowboys to Girls,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive” and “TSOP,” have received songwriters’ awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). All told, the Gamble-Huff/PIR music machine has generated over 100 Gold and Platinum records and over 70 #1 hits.

In 1999, four years after being inducted into the National Academy of Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Gamble & Huff were honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with the Trustees Award for their extensive body of work, both as producer and songwriter, and their contribution to the entire fabric of popular music. In 2008, Gamble & Huff were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They also have appeared on American Idol in a show devoted entirely to their music, and have been inducted twice into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and the R&B Hall of Fame.

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A. Jalila Larsuel
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