PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Grammy-winning songwriting team has pledged to rebound from a fire at their music company offices, which produced dozens of best-selling records from R&B stars including Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls and the O’Jays.
Fire, smoke and water damage from last weekend’s blaze ruined 40 percent of the memorabilia at Philadelphia International Records, though the recording studio was largely spared, label co-founder Kenneth Gamble said Wednesday.
‘‘When I walked through it the other day, it was like an old friend had died,’’ Gamble said. ‘‘I’m looking for the resurrection. Bottom line is we’ll be back.’’
City fire officials said the fire at 7:30 a.m. Sunday was set intentionally, but no one has yet been charged. One man was rescued from the offices, which occupy the top floor of a three-story brick building downtown.
The fire damaged gold and platinum records and the company’s personal inventory of CDs by Michael Jackson and the Jacksons, Pendergrass, Rawls and LaBelle, Gamble said.
Gamble, 66, partner Leon Huff, 67, and fellow Philadelphia producer Thom Bell are credited with creating the lush acoustics of 1960s and ’70s soul music that came to be known as the ‘‘Sound of Philadelphia.’’ Gamble and Huff’s songs include the O’Jays’ ‘‘Love Train,’’ Billy Paul’s ‘‘Me and Mrs. Jones’’ and McFadden & Whitehead’s ‘‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.’’
Many of their biggest hits continue to resonate in popular culture through remakes and commercial licensing.
The duo won a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 1989 for Simply Red’s version of ‘‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now,’’ which was originally performed by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. The O’Jays’ ‘‘For the Love of Money’’ is the theme song for Donald Trump’s TV show ‘‘The Apprentice.’’
Before Gamble and Huff bought the building in 1970, it was home to Cameo Parkway Records, where Chubby Checker recorded ‘‘The Twist’’ and Dee Dee Sharp — Gamble’s first wife — recorded ‘‘Mashed Potato Time.’’
Today, the building primarily serves as the licensing arm of Philadelphia International Records. It also hosts tour groups and offers a small gift shop.
LaBelle, who recorded the gold album ‘‘I’m In Love Again’’ for the label in 1983, said in an interview Wednesday that she is still close to Gamble and Huff. Hearing about the fire was devastating, she said.
‘‘It was like a big piece of them was taken away,’’ LaBelle said. ‘‘I just felt awful for them.’’
Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
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