SHOF Co-Chairman with partner Leon Huff
Founded "Philly Sound" and Philadelphia International Records
Along with his partner Leon Huff, songwriter-producer Kenneth Gamble has penned a multitude of timeless pop and R&B hits including Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones," the Soul Survivors' "Expressway to Your Heart," "Archie Bell and the Drells' "I Can't Stop Dancing," the Three Degrees' "When Will I See You Again," Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me by Now," and "Don't Leave Me This Way" and The O'Jays "Love Train" and "Now That We Found Love." Other top artists who have covered their songs include Elvis Presley, Jerry Butler, Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman, Freddie Scott, the Sweet Inspirations, Betty Everett, Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett, Nancy Wilson, Joe Simon, The Jacksons, Lou Rawls and Teddy Pendergrass.
On his own or with other writers like Jerry Ross, Luther Dixon, Thom Bell, Linda Creed, Bunny Sigler and Archie Bell, Gamble has also written Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," The Stylistics' "Break Up to Make Up" and Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew" along with other hits by artists like Freddy Cannon, The Drifters, The O'Jays, Bobby Hebb, Peaches & Herb, Jerry Butler and Phyllis Hyman.
Incredibly, Gamble has had a hand in writing over 3,000 songs, and with Huff, helped pioneer the R&B subgenre of "Philadelphia soul": Together they formed Philadelphia International Records in 1971 and after signing to a distributiin deal with CBS Records, wrote and produced so many of the hits already mentioned, and so many more.
Kenneth Gamble was born in Philadelphia on August 11, 1943. He was always surrounded by music, in fact, much of his youth was spent working in the music industry: He cut his first records at penny arcade recording booths and used to bring coffee to WDAS morning personalities Georgie Woods and Jimmy Bishop. He later operated his own record store in South Philadelphia, and in the early 1960's, his harmony group, Kenny Gamble and the Romeos had a regional hit with "Ain't It Baby, Pt. 1." The group's lineup included songwriter Thom Bell as well as Huff, with whom he wrote 10 songs in one sitting the first time they got together (including The Sapphires 1965 hit "Who Do You Love").
Gamble and Huff formed a production company in New York's Shubert Theatre building in 1962 and have been partners ever since. They realized immediate success and by the end of 1974, Gamble & Huff—and publishing partner Bell --were the leading pop and soul producers in the business. Meanwhile, Philadelphia International was the second-biggest African-American owned record company in America (right behind Motown), while Mighty Three Music Group, the publishing arm of music from Gamble, Huff and Bell, was recognized among the top R&B/soul music publishers.
Still active as a songwriter with Huff and others, Gamble also remains heavily involved in his Philadelphia hometown. He has opened a successful restaurant and bookstore, and converted condemned and vacant properties into low-income housing units. His Universal Companies has further encouraged economic growth via assistance to small businesses, job training and placement, and supporting charter school education. His charitable contributions have earned him the Humanitarian Award from the AMC Cancer Research Center and Hospital. He also sits on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Music Foundation.
Gamble, Huff and Bell were inducted into the Philadelphia Music Foundation's Walk of Fame in 1993, with Gamble and Huff receiving many other Philadelphia and Camden area civic awards. The partners have been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995, and received the hall's Johnny Mercer Award—its highest honor--in 2014. The team was also inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 in the non-performer category.