Pennsylvania Treasurer Returns Stolen Gold Records to Family of Philly Music Legend

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BALA CYNWYD, PA — In a heartfelt ceremony at iHeartMedia studios, Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer Stacy Garrity this week reunited the family of the late Jimmy Bishop Sr., a Philadelphia music industry titan, with three gold records that had been lost for decades. These records, emblematic of Bishop’s indelible mark on the music world, were reported to the Treasury as unclaimed property after being recovered during a police investigation.

Jimmy Bishop Sr., renowned for his tenure as a disc jockey at WDAS Radio in the 1960s, played a pivotal role in launching the careers of many legendary acts, including The Jackson 5, The Temptations, and Stevie Wonder. His influence extended beyond the airwaves, shaping the sound and success of Black artists during a critical era in American music.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be returning these gold records, which are truly invaluable pieces of Philadelphia’s music history, to the Bishop family,” said Treasurer Garrity. Her sentiment underscores the significance of these artifacts not only as symbols of musical achievement but also as touchstones of cultural heritage.

The ceremony was deeply meaningful to the Bishop family, with Jimmy Bishop Jr. reflecting on his father’s legacy and the profound connection between music, memories, and community. “Music is about melodies, messages, memories, and connections,” he shared, emphasizing the importance of these records in preserving his father’s contributions to the music industry and Black cultural heritage.

The records, awarded to Eddie Holman, Earth Wind & Fire, and Barry White, serve as milestones in a storied career that bridged generations and genres. Their return to the Bishop family, facilitated by iHeartMedia Philly and WDAS FM, highlights the ongoing efforts to recover unclaimed property and reconnect it with rightful owners or their heirs.

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This event also cast a spotlight on Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property program, which played a crucial role in identifying and returning the gold records. Rep. Mary Jo Daley highlighted the collaborative effort between state agencies and legislative offices to inform residents of unclaimed assets, showcasing an exemplary model of government serving its citizens.

The gold records, first introduced by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1958 as a benchmark of commercial success, were initially recovered from a pawn shop following a burglary investigation in 1986. Their return to the Bishop family closes a chapter on a long-standing mystery and celebrates the enduring legacy of Jimmy Bishop Sr. in the annals of Philadelphia’s music history.

This story not only rejoices in the restitution of invaluable memorabilia but also illuminates the broader implications of unclaimed property programs as vital links between past accomplishments and present recognition. Through such initiatives, treasures lost to time, neglect, or crime can be reclaimed and celebrated, ensuring that the legacies they represent are honored and remembered.

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