The Philadelphia Music Alliance announced Wednesday who will be added to the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame.
The alliance will honor The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Hooters, The O’Jays (Philadelphia Award), Evelyn “Champagne” King, WMMR radio personality Pierre Robert, Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, and philanthropist Dorrance Hill “Dodo” Hamilton (Humanitarian Award) as part of its 2019 class.
They will be formally inducted on Tuesday, Oct. 22, during an afternoon ceremony along the prestigious Avenue of the Arts, and celebrated that evening with a gala event held at The Bellevue of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame is celebrating its 33rd anniversary.
“The Philadelphia Music Alliance, throughout our years of existence, which is since 1986, has received and continues to receive numerous nominations of Philadelphia’s greatest music makers and shakers. Our Board has been faced with the challenge of selecting who will be those inducted into the Walk of Fame each year,” said alliance chairman Alan Rubens, who announced the inductees.
“This year’s honorees class is filled with legends from especially diverse backgrounds, allowing us to once again display the variety of this city’s phenomenal musical genres — from classical to rock to Philly soul — as well as honoring one of the music industry’s most respected and accomplished executives, and a beloved philanthropist whose contributions to music education in our city is without peer.”
Noteworthy inductees The O’Jays (featuring original members Eddie Levert and Walter Williams), who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, are known for their string-laden, fully-orchestrated hits including “Backstabbers,” “For the Love of Money,” “Stairway to Heaven” and “Love Train,” exemplify The Sound of Philadelphia, and share a unique connection with fellow class member, The Philadelphia Orchestra, as does Evelyn “Champagne” King, who burst onto the disco scene with her smash hit, “Shame.”
“Some of you may not realize this, but many of the Philadelphia International Records studio recordings that were responsible for establishing the famous Sound of Philadelphia featured musicians that played with the Philadelphia Orchestra,” said Ryan Fleur, executive director of the legendary instrumental ensemble, which was founded in 1900. “So we like to say that Philadelphia Orchestra is your orchestra, and that’s because we truly feel embraced by the communities that we serve.
“We love connecting with audiences throughout the region, and we’re lucky to be in the city where all genres are not only recognized, but celebrated by organizations such as the Philadelphia Music Alliance. And so The Sound of Philadelphia is a prime example of collaboration among all genres of music, which is why we are looking forward to working more closely with the Philadelphia Music Alliance to nurture our shared history and also our commitment to music education.”
Sharing that enthusiasm is renowned electric bassist Gerald Veasley, the newest PMA Board member. “I came on board with the Philadelphia Music Alliance earlier this year, and it’s been an honor getting to know this organization that does so much to uplift the reputation of Philadelphia music around the world.
In an organization focused on musical diversity, Veasley, curator of the popular “Unscripted Jazz Series” at South Restaurant, should be a welcome addition.
“I knew most of the Board members, and a couple of them were very close friends who thought it would be interesting or helpful to have a jazz person on the Board, so I was grateful to be invited,” Veasley said.