“The first time we sat down together, I knew we had something special," says Leon Huff of the day he met Kenneth Gamble and formed one of the most successful songwriting and production partnerships in the history of modern music.
"The chemistry was spontaneous and magical. Five, six songs came to us in no time at all. We didn’t have to think about what we were doing, we just did it."
Staring in 1967 with their first Top 5 hit, Expressway To Your Heart, the duo of Gamble & Huff would go on to write and produce over 170 gold and platinum records, ushering in what would become known as 'Philly soul,' or as they put it on their very own theme to Soul Train, 'The sound of Philadelphia.'
"We had our strengths, and we each knew how to complement the other guy," says Huff. “I played piano and had a good sense of music. Gamble played basic guitar, but he had a terrific way with words and themes. We formed a great team. For a time there, anything we did was a smash. That's how it happens if it's meant to happen."
In the early '70s, Gamble & Huff formed Philadephia International Records, and their string of hits for artists such as The O'Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The Three Degrees and others was just that - international. "You don't know what it's like to sit in a car in London and hear one of your songs," says Huff. "And then having the disc jockey say it's number one - number one in England!... That's the kind of thing you remember that all your life."
On the following pages, Leon Huff talks about the 10 greatest songs that he and Kenneth Gamble wrote and produced together, recordings that earned them induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. "I probably shouldn't say this, but the writing was easy," Huff admits with a laugh. "Gamble and I had a ball, man. But see, that's the lesson: if it feels like work, something isn't working. Somehow, we always seemed to know that."