Travel n Tour

Philadelphia’s music records — a DIY excursion

Detroit has the Motown Museum. Mississippi has a blues path. Memphis has Graceland, Sun Studio, and the Stax Museum of American Soul. But in Philadelphia — the birthplace of the lush acoustic fashion referred to as The Sound of Philadelphia and the place of birth of “American Bandstand” and Chubby Checker’s “Twist” — there may be no predominant area of pilgrimage for music fans. “Tourists come here waiting and hoping to experience our song legacy, and we leave them wanting,” says Patty Wilson Aden, president of The African American Museum. Philadelphia doesn’t make it clean for music enthusiasts to discover the town’s vast and wealthy musical legacy. However, you can cobble together a do-it-yourself excursion of the attractions, sounds, and neighborhoods that nurtured expertise. Here are some spots to swing, by the way.

MARIAN ANDERSON HISTORICAL RESIDENCE MUSEUM, 762 South Martin St. The contralto became the first African-American to sing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The museum is inside the house she sold in 1924. It incorporates photographs, books, memorabilia, and movies. Also, it supports an artist-in-residence program evolved by the Marian Anderson Historical Society to encourage and mentor splendid classical artists. Open 10 a.M. To four p.M. Mondays-Saturdays. Marianandersonhistoricalsociety.Weebly.Com

MARIO LANZA INSTITUTE AND MUSEUM, 712 Montrose St. The museum homes select memorabilia from the liked tenor. It’s adjacent to the church where Lanza became an altar boy. Open by using appointment simplest; a deposit is required at least weeks before the tour. 215-238-9691 or mariolanzainstitute.Org

THE UPTOWN THEATER, 2240 N. Broad St. The Uptown rivaled New York City’s Apollo Theater. It changed into the main presenter at the “Chitlin Circuit” — a network of golf equipment and theaters with basically black proprietors and audiences during segregation. Anyone who became everybody in R&B and soul played there for the duration of the theater’s heyday within the 1950s and ’60s. Guided excursions are offered with the aid of appointment only, 215-236-1878.


SITE OF AMERICAN BANDSTAND, 4548 Market St. Dick Clark hosted the wildly famous “American Bandstand” display at WFIL-TV in West Philadelphia in the 1950s and ’60s. It became a cultural touchstone for legions of young adults keen to pay attention to the latest pop song and see the contemporary dance craze. The building now homes a small enterprise development center. However, the studio remains intact, with the authentic lighting fixtures and memorabilia highlighted across the building. Tours may be arranged earlier.

THE JOHN COLTRANE HOUSE, 1511 N. Thirty-third St. The renowned sax participant lived here from 1952 to 1958, playing with the Miles Davis Quintet for part of the time. The house became a country-wide ancient landmark in 1999. However, it has fallen into disrepair. Johncoltranehouse.Org

THE SHOWBOAT/BIJOU, 1409 Lombard St. The Showboat became a tiny membership in the basement of the Douglass Hotel, where performers frequently stayed in Philadelphia. The club hosted greats like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk. In 1963, John Coltrane recorded “Live at the Showboat” there. It was later renamed “The Bijou Cafe,” a hotspot for up-and-coming artists, including U2 and Prince. But there may be no public get entry to the basement.

THE ROYAL THEATER, 1524 South St. This changed into the city’s first black-run theater dating from 1919 and a center of African-American nightlife for many years, hosting the likes of Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and Billie Holiday. It closed in the Seventies and sat vacant and decaying until Kenny Gamble’s Universal Companies bought it in 2000. Over the years, there was the communication of remodeling it into a tune museum, likely housing the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, or restoring it as a stay-track venue. The value of rehabbing the Royal turned sooner or later deemed too excessive, and a developer of luxurious houses closing fall bought the theater. Demolition started at the crease of February, and most effective; the facade will continue to be.

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS, 309 Broad St. It’s now an empty lot. However, traffic with eager imaginations can envision the building where Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff collaborated on hits like the O’Jays’ “Love Train,” Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones,” and McFadden & Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”

THE CHECKER CAFE (LATER, THE CHECKER CLUB), 2125 Ridge Ave. This dilapidated construction is the shell of the last jazz membership alongside what was as soon as the bustling Ridge Avenue jazz corridor. Other clubs like The Pearl and the Blue Note have been better acknowledged, but the Checker Cafe was where musicians might hang out before and after nearby shows. Pearl Bailey labored there as a waitress.


Jeremy D. Mena
Alcohol geek. Future teen idol. Web practitioner. Problem solver. Certified bacon guru. Spent 2002-2009 researching plush toys in Miami, FL. Won several awards for exporting tar in Libya. Uniquely-equipped for managing human growth hormone in Libya. Spent a weekend implementing fried chicken on the black market. Spoke at an international conference about working on carnival rides in Miami, FL. Developed several new methods for donating jack-in-the-boxes in Edison, NJ.