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Kenny Gamble

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Information about Kenny Gamble

Profile image of Kenny Gamble

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Activist
Lyricist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Mother's Cooking
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/11/1943
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Activist
Lyricist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Mother's Cooking
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/11/1943
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Kenny Gamble is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer, songwriter, and producer, Kenny Gamble, was born on August 11, 1943, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gamble got his start in the music industry in the early 1960s as a member of a band called the Romeos. From performing, Gamble eventually switched to song writing and producing alongside colleague Leon Huff; the partnership lasted over three decades. Through song writing, Gamble explored the themes of social change and empowerment of inner city inhabitants. Gamble and Huff became known for originating the Philly Soul Sound, a popular genre of the 1970s. Gamble and Huff's hits include: "Expressway to Your Heart," "Only the Strong Survive," "Me and Mrs. Jones," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "Back Stabbers," "Love Train" and "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now."

In the 1970s, Gamble began to purchase run-down houses, beginning with his own childhood home, to improve conditions in blighted areas. By the early 1990s, Gamble had purchased over one hundred abandoned homes; he and his wife then moved from the suburbs back into the inner city neighborhood in South Philadelphia where he had grown up in order to help rebuild the community.

Gamble founded the nonprofit Universal Companies to establish a workforce development center offering adult education and job training to individuals of all skill levels; a construction company to provide training and jobs; a business support center; a charter school; and other entities aimed at empowering the inner city and its residents. Gamble also founded a nonprofit community development corporation, Universal Community Homes, to provide low- and moderate-income families in Philadelphia with freshly-built or refurbished homes at affordable prices. The community revitalization programs Gamble launched and nurtured created hundreds of jobs; well over one hundred and twenty homes that have been constructed or renovated; and developed over 70,000 square feet of commercial space to support local needs. Gamble received various awards and honors for his work and dedication to the community.

See how Kenny Gamble is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenny Gamble interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenny Gamble's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenny Gamble discusses his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenny Gamble considers the significance of knowing one's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenny Gamble describes his mother's background in segregated Montgomery, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenny Gamble recounts his parents' meeting
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenny Gamble lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenny Gamble describes his childhood environs, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenny Gamble recalls gangs in South Philadelphia and a mediation effort in the early 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenny Gamble recalls gang activity in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenny Gamble recalls church activities and entertainment during his childhood in South Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenny Gamble describes worsening crime in his childhood neighborhood, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenny Gamble gives examples of his creativity during his childhood and youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenny Gamble evaluates his school performance
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenny Gamble remembers learning guitar from a local musician and trying to play his aunt's piano
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenny Gamble remembers his growing involvement with music as a teenager
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenny Gamble describes how 'American Bandstand' and white cover groups exploited black music and dance
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenny Gamble remembers talented musicians from South Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kenny Gamble briefly shares his early thoughts on the record business
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenny Gamble recalls balancing music-making and side jobs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenny Gamble recalls studying medical technology and finding the human body inspirational
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenny Gamble tells about the 'day jobs' he and other musicians worked
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenny Gamble recalls encountering discrimination while operating a record shop
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenny Gamble reflects on his first musical hits
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenny Gamble discusses developments in music and radio technology
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenny Gamble details Gamble and Huff's successful collaborations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenny Gamble emphasizes the message in the music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenny Gamble lauds hip-hop's musical contributions
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenny Gamble discusses his community revitalization project in South Philadelphia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenny Gamble expresses his hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth Gamble describes his sources of inspiration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth Gamble shares his reflections on humanity and spirituality
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth Gamble talks about blacks in politics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth Gamble discusses his plans for the future
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth Gamble considers his legacy