Pervis Herder
Pervis Herder

            Pervis Herder was a local singer whose greatest impact was from the song he sang, rather from his performance. Herder was a 20-year-old soul singer when in-house writers and producers for Jamie Records, Bob Finiz and Joe Wissert, wrote “Soul City (Stomp)’ for him to record in the spring of 1963. Once his rendition was released on Jamie Records on May 16, 1963, he was surrounded by better known artists who took up the song. To start with, the other side of the same single credited Leon Huff as the artist (see Huff’s separate entry on this website). Huff later founded Philadelphia International Records with Kenny Gamble and at the time of Herder’s performance, was a very well known session musician in Philadelphia. In addition to Huff, “Soul City (Stomp) was recorded by Jan and Dean on Liberty Records and Roosevelt Grier, the famous New York Giants football player on what must have been a short lived recording career.

Herder died at the age of 68 as a result of a freak accident on the Ben Franklin Bridge between Philadelphia and Camden on June 12, 2012. He was a passenger in a Ford van that had stopped with car troubles heading to Philadelphia on the western side of the bridge. The car was rammed by a 19-year-old driver who failed a sobriety test and was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). But the police determined that Herder, who was living on North Fairhill Street in Philadelphia, had already died of a heart attack at the time of the accident, avoiding the DUI driver’s prosecution for reckless homicide.

“It appears at this point that he had passed on probably from cardiac arrest,” said a spokesperson for the Delaware River Port Authority.