In the 1970s, Philadelphia International Records was one of the premiere purveyors of Philly soul music, with a roster that featured influential acts like The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, and others. It’s been 50 years since the label was founded in 1971, so Vinyl Me, Please is celebrating the anniversary with a massive box set, VMP Anthology: The Story Of Philadelphia International Records.
As the title suggests, the compilation is a look at what the label was all about. That story is told through eight essential albums: The O’Jays’ Back Stabbers (originally released in 1972), Billy Paul’s 360 Degrees Of Billy Paul (1972), MFSB’s Love Is The Message (1973), The Three Degrees’ The Three Degrees (1973), Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ Wake Up Everybody (1975), Dexter Wansel’s Life On Mars (1976), The Philadelphia International All Stars’ Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto (1977), and Leon Huff’s Here To Create Music (1980).
Each record is lacquered and AAA-mastered directly from tapes and pressed on 180-gram colored vinyl. Furthermore, this first edition of the box et is limited to 1,000 pressings and is accompanied by, among other goodies, a four-episode podcast series “to serve as a definitive guide to each album featuring interviews with PIR’s key figures like Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Valerie Holiday and more.”
Amileah Sutliff, VMP’s Head of Editorial, says of the release, “It’s a true honor to be able to champion Philadelphia International, and to give their music the VMP Anthology treatment. PIR is a groundbreaking powerhouse of a label whose impact — both directly and indirectly — can be seen and heard prominently in music and culture to this day, 50 years later. With eight incredible albums that illustrate the label’s vast contributions to soul throughout the ’70s, listeners get to go deep on a catalogue that single-handedly established the Sounds of Philadelphia.”
Learn more about VMP Anthology: The Story Of Philadelphia International Records here.