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June 01, 2015

Effort launched to save South Philly's 'Sounds of Philadelphia' mural

The artwork, across from Pat's and Geno's, is in a state of disrepair and needs to be relocated

The Arts Mural Arts
The Sounds of Philadelphia Mural Bobby Rydell/Facebook

Present condition of The Sounds of Philadelphia mural in South Philadelphia.

A last-ditch effort to save a deteriorating mural depicting seven iconic music and film celebrities with roots in South Philadelphia is underway.

“The Sounds of Philadelphia” mural, painted on the side of a now-vacant building across the street from the famous Pat's King of Steaks and a stone’s throw from Geno’s Steaks at Ninth Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, features the faces of South Philly legends Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Jerry Blavat, Al Martino, Fabian, Eddie Fisher and Bobby Rydell.

The Sounds of Philadelphia, a mural by Peter Pagast, assisted by Brad Carney and Carlton William, was put up at 1231 E. Passyunk Ave. on Sept. 15, 2005.  (Bobby Rydell/Facebook)

The artwork was commissioned through a partnership between WXPN and The Philadelphia Music Arts Program and was unveiled in 2005, but the building that acts as a canvas hasn't been maintained, and the mural is now deteriorating. 

In addition, a proposed four-story development is planned to rise up next to it, which would block the artwork.

"There are certain murals where the image has far transcended the boundaries of Philadelphia," - Mural Arts founder and Executive Director Jane Golden.

According to, until recently, the city's Mural Arts Program had planned to paint over it, in what it called a “retirement with dignity,” and find a new spot for a duplication, but that would likely take years.

Now, Mural Arts founder and Executive Director Jane Golden is leading a crusade to expedite the recreation of what she calls “one of the most popular murals in [the city’s] collection of nearly 2,000 citywide images."

The effort will take an estimated $70,000 in donations.

"There are certain murals where the image has far transcended the boundaries of Philadelphia," Golden told


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