Philadelphia Feature

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Philly's Music History

Philly holds a special place in pop music history. American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, began here as a local dance show. When it went national in 1957, it gave a boost to many hometown boys, including teen heartthrob Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, and Chubby Checker, of "Twist" fame. Sun Ra, the legendary jazz pianist, was from Philly, in keeping with the city's rich tradition of jazz luminaries such as saxophonists Grover Washington Jr., Stan Getz, and John Coltrane, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and vocalist Billie Holiday. In the 1970s the Philadelphia Sound—a polished blend of disco, pop, and rhythm and blues—came alive through producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at the famed Philadelphia International Records studios for artists like The Ojays, Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, and Three Degrees, whose megahit "Love Train" helped to define the '70s era. That lush sound was kept alive by chart toppers such as Hall and Oates, Patti LaBelle, and Boyz II Men, and, within the last decade, rapper-actor Will Smith, as well as former spoken-word artist Jill Scott, hip-hop pioneers the Roots (now, among other accomplishments, the house band for NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon), R&B–neo-soul stylist Musiq Soulchild, hip-hop pinup girl Ethel Cee, the full-bodied South Philly pipes of Pink, and young R&B sensation Jazmine Sullivan. The Philly DJ scene is also potent, including spinners King Britt, RJD2, Rich Medina, Diplo, and? uestlove, who keep the party pumping at clubs throughout the city.

Updated: 08-2013

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