*A 27-year-old man has been charged with arson in a two-alarm fire at the Philadelphia music company offices of songwriting team Gamble and Huff, who produced dozens of hits for stars including Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls and the O’Jays.
Christopher Cimini, 27, was charged Wednesday with arson, risking or causing a catastrophe, burglary, criminal trespass and other counts in the 7:30 a.m. Sunday blaze on the top floor of Philadelphia International Records, a three-story brick building downtown.
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 told the Associated Press 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.”
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.
“We’ll bounce back,” Gamble’s partner Leon Huff said. “We wrote the song — ‘Only The Strong Survive.'”
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.