Joe Tarsia, ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ Architect, Dies at 88

Joe Tarsia, founder of Sigma Sound Studios and chief engineer for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, died on Nov. 1 in Lancaster, Penn. The 88-year-old’s cause of death was not disclosed.


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In collaboration with songwriter/producers Gamble, Huff, and Thom Bell, Tarsia played an instrumental role in crafting PIR’s distinctive brand of sophisticated soul, dubbed the Sound of Philadelphia. He left his imprint on a host of classic hits such as Jerry Butler’s “Only the Strong Survive,” The O’Jays’ “Love Train” and “Back Stabbers,” Harold Melvin &

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