Lost Gem: The forgotten duet by legends Kenny Gamble and Thom Bell

They are among the most successful soul music producers and songwriters in history. The story of Philadelphia soul music could simply not be written without Kenny Gamble and Thom Bell, two-thirds of the “Mighty Three” that were responsible for the rise of the lush, elegant soul and dance music that emanated from the City of Brotherly Love in the 1970s and 80s.

But before their glorious run as hitmakers for such legendary acts as The O’Jays, The Spinners, Patti LaBelle, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The Stylistics and more, Gamble and Bell were teenage friends who were struggling to make a name for themselves in the nascent Philly soul community – a struggle compounded by the structural racism in the local music scene.

And while pianist Bell was seeking his fame as a musician, Gamble was committed to establishing himself as a singer. And so the songwriting duo took a run as a vocal duo, recording their 1962 composition “I’ll Get By” as Kenny & Tommy, and releasing it to the Philly radio community. The doo wop song didn’t get much action, but it was yet another stepping stone for two aspiring music men who would change the world less than a decade later.

Check out “I’ll Get By” below. It is our latest SoulTracks Lost Gem.

By Chris Rizik

Kenny & Tommy

"I'll Get By"


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