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PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity Reunites Gold Records With Philadelphia Music Icon’s Family

The Rev. Louise Williams Bishop is thankful for the return of three of the gold records her late husband, Jimmy Bishop Sr. earned. She thought they were lost forever.

“I’m thinking he did some great work and I was delighted that people other than me and his family recognized that. If you do good, good comes back to you.  And he did a lot of good,” she said.

Williams Bishop, known as the Gospel Queen, was on hand with her two sons, Jimmy Bishop Jr. and Tabb Bishop, to receive the gold records from state Treasurer Stacy Garrity on Wednesday.

At a Bala Cynwyd press conference at the iHeartMedia studios, Garrity said these are the only gold records that have been in the Treasury’s unclaimed property vault. Most physical items are jewelry, coins and military medals, she said.

(From left) Jimmy Bishop Jr., Patty Jackson, Tabb Bishop, Rev. Loise Williams Bishop and Treasurer Stacy Garrity.

Garrity called Jimmy Bishop Sr. a “Philadelphia music icon.”

A disc jockey, producer, and host at WDAS, Bishop Sr. helped The Jackson 5, the Temptations, The Supremes, the Marvelettes, Stevie Wonder and others break into the music business.

“These records are part of his legacy,” said Garrity. “They were missing for decades abut today they are finally going home.”

Treasury’s unclaimed property program as $4.5 billion “waiting to be reunited with its rightful owners,” said Garrity. Most of the unclaimed items come from safe deposit boxes. But some comes from police evidence lockers, college dorms and nursing homes.

“The three gold records hold classic titles from Earth, Wind and Fire, Barry White and Eddie Holman,” said Garrity. The records were stolen at sometime in the 1980s and found at a pawn shop in 1986 as part of a police investigation into a burglary ring that operated in Abington and Philadelphia, she said.

After the records were no longer needed as evidence, the police turned them over to the state Treasury as unclaimed property in 2008, as required by law, said Garrity.

While most items get auctioned off after three years, some are “so unique we keep looking for the rightful owners.”

There were some clues on the records, such as Jimmy Bishop Sr.’s name, she said. They were able to contact the Bishop family through WDAS.

Jimmy Bishop Sr. first “hit the airwaves in 1953,” said Garrity.  He and his wife met and fell in love at WDAS, said Tabb Bishop.

“They were a powerhouse duo in the music business and Philadelphia radio,” said Garrity. The list of musicians Jimmy helped reads like a who’s who of musicians.”

“Louise was incredibly influential herself,” said Garrity. “She introduced Aretha Franklin to Atlantic records.”

“He won numerous for community service and his work with young people,” said Garrity. Being able to return the gold records is “a great honor for me.”

Tabb Bishop thanked Garrity and aid, “If anyone asks what good government does, this is evidence government works very well. We are extremely pleased to be reunited with these items. It’s been many years since we’ve had them. If you think about it, some family members may get a watch returned, a tie returned. We’re actually getting gold records returned. This is a unique part of our family’s history.”

Jimmy Bishop Jr. thanked Garrity and her staff for their “hard work and dedication” in tracking them down.

WDAS D.J. Patty Jackson was able to contact Jimmy Bishop Jr. for the Treasury.

“This is so amazing,” said Jackson, “to follow in the footsteps of greatness. Once of the great things about working at WDAS, you know you’re stepping in the line of some of the greatest voices that ever came on the radio.  And Philadelphia has a rich radio history.”

“Rev. Louise, you know you paved the way for me,” said Jackson. “I could not walk in the door without you walking in first. When you think of the legacy of WDAS, Jimmy Bishop was that guy. He was this huge radio presence who believed in the music, the musicians and the heritage.”

“Rev. Louise, thank God you are here to see this moment, for this is your legacy,” said Jackson.

Gold records were first designated by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1958 and awarded to singles or albums that reached at least 500,000 in sales.

“I encourage every Pennsylvanian to check our website, to see if they have any unclaimed property available to be returned to them,” said Garrity.

“While unclaimed property making its way back to its rightful owner is always a thrilling moment, this one is particularly exciting!” said state Sen. Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery). “I’m glad these rare, framed gold records are returning to where they belong. My office is always happy to help constituents with unclaimed property searches, so if folks want to see what they might be entitled to, I encourage them to reach out.”

Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Conshohocken) said, “Our office is active with Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property program. My staff obtains information from the Treasury on assets that they are holding for our constituents. We are then able to contact individual residents to inform them of these holdings. This work is a great example of government working together to improve the lives of Pennsylvania’s citizens.”

Bishop’s daughter, Tamika, was unable to attend the event and another son had passed away.

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