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10 of the Best Songs from The Sound of Philadelphia Days
1. Betcha By Golly Wow – The Stylistics released this song in 1972 and it went to number three on the Billboard charts. By all rights this song should have made it to number one. We have the beautiful vocals of Russell Thompkins Jr. and great harmonizing by the rest of the group who lifted this song. It is accompanied by piano, bass, and lush orchestration andis a beautiful love song.
2. Back Stabbers- The O’Jays released this song in 1972 and it too went to #3 on the Billboard charts. The O’Jays brought a Latin feel to this song. The piano intro is magnificent then drums kick in, the orchestra, and suddenly you are sucked right into this song. Great to dance to and it also relays a message to watch out for your friends who might be trying to get your girlfriend. It is a song you want to sing along to every time.
3. Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time- The Delfonics released this song in 1970 went to number three on the Billboard charts. It is a classic song of a love gone wrong. The song begins with the sound of horns almost like a fox hunt, but it turns sweet with piano, drums xylophone, then the luscious orchestra takes it to a whole other level. The vocals are to die for too as you feel the exasperation of the singer who feels this love is really over this time. It is a truly memorable song.
4. I’ll Be Around- The Spinners this song wasn’t meant to be a hit it happened by accident. It was on the B side of a song the Spinners had called “How Could I Let You Get Away”, but the dee jays liked the B side better. They knew what they were doing because this song reached number one on the US R&B chart. It is a song of hope that a love might not really be over and the singer is pledging to be around should his love ever have a change of heart. This song is textbook Philadelphia sound with the soul, rhythm and blues, as well as the orchestra joining together to accompany the smooth vocals of the group .It all combines to make this song timeless.
5. When Will I See You Again- The Three Degrees this song was one of the more successful songs of this era. Released in 1973 the song reached number one on the contemporary adult charts, number twp on the pop charts, and two weeks on top of the British charts. Although the lead singer didn’t want to record it she soon found out what a great song it really is. The orchestra with the strings in the forefront and a steady drum beat provide the driving force of the song. The strings are beautiful and the vocals are too. Everyone can relate to the lyrics and wondering will this relationship work and when can I see you again?
6. TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) –MFSB released in 1973 it is the only instrumental in this list. It rode the wave of the disco era and was very popular reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. I remember my sister got this record and played it so often and I grew to love it too. It starts out fast and never lets up. Try dancing to this one and you will have a great cardio workout. What is not to love about this song? The orchestra, the organ, the bass, and drums keep you grooving to the tune.
7. Could It Be I’m Falling In Love?- The Spinners recorded in 1972 it reached number four on the Billboard charts but it should have been number one. This song is elevated by the smooth vocals of lead singer Bobby Smith . The song has the horns, the strings, as well as organ sound, blended together to create a happy mood. You feel his optimism as he realizes he may be falling in love and all is right with the world.
8. Livin For The Weekend- The O Jays this song was released in 1975 it reached number two on the R&B charts, number twenty on the Billboard Charts. The vocals sell this song as you can empathize with the singer feeling Friday can’t come fast enough. Love the lyrics of the songs as well. The singer is struggling through the week but by Friday he is rejuvenated and ready for the weekend. The song grooves and it feels like a party is getting started.
9. The Loved I Lost- Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes this song was released as a disco song in 1973. It reached number seven on the Billboard Charts and it is easy to see why. The piano and guitar open the song and then here comes the orchestra and the song just builds after that. The vocals with Teddy Pendergrass take this song to another level. It has beautiful harmonies and even though the song is up-tempo there is nothing happy about the way the singer is feeling.
10. Don’t Leave Me This Way- Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes this song instantly conjures up Thelma Houston and her wonderful rendition of this song, but Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes were first to find success with this classic song. It was never released in the US as a single but it reached number three on the disco charts and Teddy Pendergrass with his vocals gave the song its raw emotion. Once more this a song you can boogie down to while your heart breaks.
The sounds of Philadelphia created magic with their soulful vocals, lush orchestrations, and its rhythm and blues. It was the perfect combination that created songs that will live on forever because of their perfection.