TSOP Experience opens in Philadelphia

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    PHILADELPHIA - With preparations officially underway for a worldwide 40th anniversary celebration next year, Philadelphia International Records (PIR) is starting the party early with the Grand Opening this weekend of THE TSOP EXPERIENCE, an intimate new nightspot for showcasing and celebrating the legendary "Sound of Philadelphia" - past, present and future - in a live setting along the Avenue of the Arts.

    PHILADELPHIA - With preparations officially underway for a worldwide 40th anniversary celebration next year, Philadelphia International Records (PIR) is starting the party early with the Grand Opening this weekend of THE TSOP EXPERIENCE, an intimate new nightspot for showcasing and celebrating the legendary "Sound of Philadelphia" - past, present and future - in a live setting along the Avenue of the Arts.

    The Sound of Philadelphia Souvenir Shop, located in the historic Philadelphia International Records building and visited regularly by "people all over the world," is being officially renamed THE TSOP EXPERIENCE, as it transforms every Thursday night into TSOP THURSDAY, a 55-seat adult-style nightclub for residents and tourists to embrace live performances by Philadelphia's rising and established stars while being surrounded and inspired by memorabilia and autographed wall murals celebrating the musical legacy of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff. Indeed, THE TSOP EXPERIENCE is the new place to be to enjoy the sounds of legendary Philadelphia International Records artists and purchase TSOP memorabilia .Featuring live performances every Thursday night by up-and-coming artists and Philadelphia favorites, THE TSOP EXPERIENCE offers an experience like no other. 

    The Grand Opening, set for Friday, July 16, will star high-powered Philly vocalist and former PIR recording artist "Amazin'" Grace Little and her band, rising Latin soul singer Tiago, and a special guest to be announced, and feature the first weekly Open Mic Session. Each week's lineup will aim to bridge the generations while discovering new talent through Open Mic sessions that kick off every show. Already, through street buzz alone, the Philadelphia International offices have been inundated with Open Mic requests. To apply for an Open Mic appearance, email tsopexperience@gmail.com or call (215) 735-2660.

    "We're excited because we're now able to promote music and live arts and entertainment from the Philadelphia area, right in our home town and within the confines of the historic Philadelphia International Records building, while attracting people to the legendary music of Gamble & Huff and the Sound of Philadelphia," says Chuck Gamble, executive vice president of Philadelphia International Records. "Despite the tragic fire that recently destroyed our offices and recording studio, we just love that we've found a way to create an intimate venue that allows people to perform in the same building where legendary artists such as Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, Teddy Pendergrass and dozens more recorded a tremendous array of hits that continue to permeate the global landscape and influence artists of all generations. This is a temendous opportunity to give back to our fans and keep the music alive."

    THE TSOP EXPERIENCE is sure to be a multi-cultural experience as well, as performers from different backgrounds - particularly Latin, Asian, Reggae, pop, R&B and jazz - will be showcased regularly. There also will be plenty of surprises to look forward to. Indeed, THE TSOP EXPERIENCE is the kind of place where anyone might drop in. You just never know who you might be privileged to see ... or discover.

    THE TSOP EXPERIENCE also will be a multimedia live experience. Every week's performance sessions will be videotaped and streamed over the web at www.gamble-huffmusic.com .

    By day, THE TSOP EXPERIENCE really shows off its multifaceted offerings as an interactive multimedia experience. During regular hours (Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.), the shop will be welcoming visitors internet café style, with a setup that encourages people to stay and utilize the free-WiFi while enjoying the music and memorabilia that permeates its cozy confines.

    And there are so many ways to enjoy it.

    Patrons can come inside to watch music videos of classic concerts and historical moments and documentaries from not only the Sound of Philadelphia, but Stax and Motown, too! That's also a time when visitors can be privy to guest appearance rehearsal sessions and up-close-and-personal interviews of legendary artists being conducted on stage for future television and documentary release. You won't want to miss those moments, or be a part of history watching the various TV, film and music celebrities who continually stop in to sign the Gamble & Huff Wall of Fame, an autograph-filled "Sound of Philadelphia" mural that combines with the historic Rhythm & Blues Foundation Wall of Fame to stretch the entire length of the room!

    Wanna see how well you can sing the Sound of Philadelphia classics of Gamble & Huff? THE TSOP EXPERIENCE gives you the chance to find that out, karaoke style, and record it for posterity. And don't miss your chance to buy exclusive T-Shirts of your favorite Philadelphia International recording artists, from Billy Paul and the Jacksons, to Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls and Patti LaBelle.

    Have a special event in mind? Whether it's an office party, or any reception, THE TSOP EXPERIENCE will make it a one-of-a-kind celebration, with various catering packages available at our venue.

    Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records, where the Gamble & Huff music machine generated over 100 Gold and Platinum records and over 70 #1 hits, including "Love Train" by the O'Jays, "Me & Mrs. Jones" (Billy Paul), "If You Don't Know Me By Now" (Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes) and "Enjoy Yourself" (the Jacksons). In 2012, Gamble & Huff will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their historic songwriting partnership, beginning with their meteoric rise as writers and producers of early hits for the Intruders ("Cowboys to Girls") and the Soul Survivors, who delivered the duo's first No. 1 pop hit, "Expressway to Your Heart."

    Gamble & Huff are among the most prolific professional songwriters of all time, having written and produced over 3,500 songs within 35 years, an output that rivals such famed songwriting teams as Lennon-McCartney and Jagger-Richards. They are enshrined in five music Halls of Fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a massive catalogue that includes numerous pop #1 hits, R&B #1 hits, 100 gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters' awards honorees. Featured prominently in television programs ("The Apprentice," "Cold Case"), films ("The Nutty Professor") and advertising spots (Verizon, Chevrolet, Coors Light, Old Navy, The Gap, Office Max) for more than 30 years, Gamble & Huff's songs have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. In fact, one of their songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes. With a stable core of artists led by the O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB and the Three Degrees, Gamble & 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" (better known as the "Soul Train" theme), have received songwriters' awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). Their songs comprise the most sampled R&B catalogue in the world, by artists such as Jay-Z, Usher, Cam'ron, Ja Rule, Jaheim, and Avant.

    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, joining luminaries like Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Walt Disney. They have been inducted twice into the Dance Music Hall of Fame as well as the R&B Hall of Fame. In 2005, Gamble & Huff appeared on American Idol in a show devoted entirely to their music. In 2008, Gamble & Huff were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the first recipients of the newly created Ahmet Ertegün Award.


                            WHERE:   309A S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA

                            WHEN:      Friday, July 16, 7 p.m. - Open Mic Session,  8-9:30 p.m. - Guest stars perform

                           WHO:        "Amazin'" Grace Little , Tiago, plus a special guest to be announced.

                           COST:        $15

                            INFO:        (215) 735-2660 or tsopexperience@gmail.com

                                                  Visit www.gamble-huffmusic.com

    Live performances every TSOP THURSDAY at 7 p.m.

    TSOP EXPERIENCE hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.