7 Key Moments in Philly Music History

Featured Image by Nile Rodgers Productions via 

With a rich culture of Philadelphia soul and a wealth of new talent constantly breaking, the City of Brotherly Love is one of the best places to experience music. Here are seven key moments from Philly Music History that have laid the groundwork for our thriving music scene today!


1. American Bandstand

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand was founded in Philly and helped break almost every major artist in the 60s and the 70s.


2. Cameo Parkway Records

Cameo Parkway Records, based in Philadelphia, launched the biggest dance hit of all time, “The Twist” performed by Chubby Checker, as well as the music careers of others artists, including Bobby Rydell. The label was the precursor to TSOP.


3. The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)

The Sound of Philadelphia, produced by Gamble & Huff and engineered by Joe Tarsia at Sigma Sound Studios, launched the careers of such notable R&B artists as The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, McFadden & Whitehead, and a host of other genre-defining artists who were creating their own brand of rhythm and blues.


4. Ruffhouse Records

Established at Studio 4, Ruffhouse Records became a mecca for urban artists breaking out of Philadelphia. Artists like Kris Kross and The Fugees, and solo Fugees like Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean, defined the Ruffhouse sound.


5. Live Aid

In 1985, the USA for Africa coalition converged on London and Philadelphia as Wembley Stadium and JFK Stadium hosted the first ever transatlantic concert featuring the biggest stars of the era, including Phil Collins, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Tom Petty, among others.


6. Our Live Music Legacy

In the 70s, Philly was home to some of the most famous music venues in the world, including the Tower Theater (where David Bowie recorded his live album), the Spectrum, and J.C. Dobbs. Today the tradition continues with such great venues as The Trocadero TheatreFillmore, the Theatre of Living Arts (TLA), the Wells Fargo Center, and the BB&T Pavilion (for Philadelphians crossing the Delaware River into Camden).


7. World-Renowned Musicians

A staggering amount of notable artists have broken out of Philly, including Bobby Rydell, Bruce Springsteen (yeah he’s from Jersey, but he still counts as ours), Todd Rundgren, Hall & Oates, The Fugees, The Roots (shout-out to Questlove – watch his drum-off with Justin Bieber here), the Hooters, and Taylor Swift (yup, T-Swizzle is from Wyomissing, PA – not exactly Philadelphia, but close enough).

What is YOUR favorite part of Philly Music History? Tell us in the comments below!


  1. Royvia

    September 13, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Great post.

  2. Royvia

    September 13, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Great post.

  3. Fredro

    September 20, 2019 at 5:52 am

    Nice post!

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