The Philadelphia Sound
It all happened at 46th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. American Bandstand and its famous “Studio B” – measuring 80 by 80 by 24 feet but appearing smaller due to the number of props and television cameras – was the epicenter of a rock and roll phase that immortalized the “Philadelphia Sound.”
American Bandstand premiered locally in late March 1952 as Bandstand on Philadelphia television station WFIL-TV. Hosted by Joe Horn – until he was replaced by Dick Clark in 1956 – change came in late spring of 1957 when the ABC television network asked their affiliates for programming suggestions to fill their 3:30 p.m. (ET) time slot. Clark decided to pitch the show to ABC president Thomas W. Moore, and after some negotiations the show was picked up nationally, becoming American Bandstand on August 5, 1957.
When WFIL-TV moved to a new facility (one that did not have a studio that could accommodate the show), ABC moved production of Bandstand to the ABC Television Center in Los Angeles on February 8, 1964, which coincidentally was the day before the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Prior to the move, Bandstand had sourced many of its up-and-coming acts from Philadelphia’s Cameo-Parkway Records. The combined impact of the move to California and the Beatles’ arrival inflicted permanent damage to the artists signed to one label in particular.
A surprising percentage of the “clear victims” recorded for one company, Cameo-Parkway, which had strings of hits from the Dovells, Dee Dee Sharp, the Orlons, Bobby Rydell, and the big gun, Chubby Checker. Their 1964 departures, en masse, from the higher regions of the chart were so abrupt that it seemed implausible not to blame the British Invasion.
The rising Motown explosion from Detroit also made the Cameo-Parkway artists sound quaint, supplying danceable records that weren’t as dependent on dance fads as Checker and his labelmates.
But for a short while, the Philadelphia artists below put their city on the pop record-making map.
Memories … That’s What We’re All About
Play buttons are on the left … Volume sliders are on the right
The Sound of Philadelphia
Frankie Avalon – Danny & The Juniors
Bobby Rydell – Dee Dee Sharp – Chubby Checker
Orlons – Jimmy Darren – Dovells
Fabian – Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker