In the '70s, Philadelphia was one of America's great cities for soul music, and few Philly acts scored more and better hits than the O'Jays
. Formed in Ohio in 1958, the O'Jays recorded for a variety of small labels with limited success until they partnered with Kenny Gamble
and Leon Huff
, a pair of producers based in Philadelphia whose bright, layered sound, full of horns, strings, and percussion, was a perfect match for the O'Jays' vocal blend. The group relocated to the City of Brotherly Love and signed with Philadelphia International Records, where they enjoyed a string of hits that ranged from romantic numbers like "Used to Be My Girl" and "Now That We Found Love" to gritty, street-level anthems like "Back Stabbers" and "For the Love of Money," peaking with a combination of topicality and positivity in "Love Train." The Very Best of the O'Jays
is a 21-song anthology that includes the O'Jays' best-known songs from their tenure with Philadelphia International, and captures their trademark sound full of great grooves and passionate vocals.