Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight

Infobox musical artist |
Name = Gladys Knight

Img_capt = Gladys Knight in concert at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California, on October 12, 2006.
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Gladys Maria Knight
Alias =
Born =birth date and age|1944|05|28
Died =
Origin =Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Instrument =
Genre =R&B, Soul
Occupation =
Years_active =1952-present
Label =Vee-Jay, Motown, Buddah, Columbia, MCA, Verve
Associated_acts =Gladys Knight & the Pips
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

Gladys Maria Knight, "The Empress of Soul,"cite web|url=|title=The Voice, Winter 2007, Society of Singer's 16th Ella Awards] cite web|url=| article reviewing Society of Singer's 16th Ella Award] (born May 28, 1944) is a seven-time Grammy Award-winning American R&B/soul singer, actress, humanitarian and author. She is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, for both the Motown and Buddah Records labels, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, the most famous incarnation of which also included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.


Early life

Gladys Knight was born to Merald Woodlow Knight and Sarah Elizabeth Woods in Loachapoka, Alabama. She first achieved minor fame by winning Ted Mack's "Original Amateur Hour" TV show contest at the age of 7 in 1951. The following year, she, her brother Merald, sister Brenda, and cousins William and Elenor Guest formed a musical group called The Pips, (named after another cousin, James "Pip" Woods). By the end of the decade, the act had begun to tour, and had replaced Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest with Gladys Knight's cousin Edward Patten and friend Langston George.

Knight discovered she was pregnant in 1960, and married her high school sweetheart James Newman. After a miscarriage, Knight returned to performing with the Pips. In 1961, Bobby Robinson produced the single "Every Beat of My Heart" for the group, which became a #1 R&B and #6 pop hit when released on Vee-Jay Records. In 1962, Langston George left the group, which at that time renamed itself "Gladys Knight & the Pips" and continued as a quartet.

In 1962, after scoring a second hit, "Letter Full of Tears", Knight became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, Jimmy III, that year. She retired from the road to raise her child while The Pips toured on their own. After giving birth in 1963 to a daughter, Kenya, Knight returned to recording with the Pips in order to support her family.

uccess with The Pips

November 1, 1981.] Gladys Knight & the Pips joined the Motown roster in 1966, and, although regarded as a second-string act, scored several hit singles, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," (also recorded by Marvin Gaye), "Friendship Train" (1969), "If I Were Your Woman" (1970), "I Don't Want To Do Wrong" (1971), the Grammy Award winning "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" (1972), and "Daddy Could Swear (I Declare)" (1973). In their early Motown career Gladys Knight and the Pips toured as the opening act for Diana Ross and The Supremes. Gladys Knight stated in her memoirs that Miss Ross kicked her off the tour because the audience's reception to Knight's soulful performance overshadowed her. Berry Gordy later told Gladys that she was giving his act a hard time. [Knight, Gladys. . Hyperion, New York, NY 1997, p. 179.]

The act left Motown for a better deal with Buddah Records in 1973, and achieved full-fledged success that year with hits such as the Grammy-winning "Midnight Train to Georgia" (#1 on the pop and R&B chart), "I've Got to Use My Imagination," and "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me." In the summer of 1974, Knight and the Pips recorded the soundtrack to the successful film "Claudine" with producer Curtis Mayfield. The act was particularly successful in Europe, and especially the United Kingdom. However, the Buddah hits all followed a number of years after their success in the U.S.. For example "Midnight Train to Georgia" hit the UK pop charts Top 5 in the summer of 1976, a full three years after its success in the U.S..

During this period of greater recognition, Knight made her motion picture acting debut in the film "Pipe Dreams," a romantic drama set in Alaska. The film failed at the box-office, but Knight did receive a Golden Globe Best New Actress nomination.

Knight and the Pips continued to have hits until the late 1970s, when they were forced to record separately due to legal issues, resulting in Knight's first solo LP recordings--"Miss Gladys Knight" (1978) on Buddah and "Gladys Knight" (1979) on Columbia Records. Having divorced James Newman II in 1973, Knight married Barry Hankerson (future uncle of R&B singer Aaliyah), then Detroit mayor Coleman Young's executive aide. Knight and Hankerson remained married for three years, during which time they had a son, Shanga Ali. Upon their divorce, Hankerson and Knight had a heated custody battle over Shanga Ali.

In the early 1980s, Johnny Mathis invited Gladys to record two duets – "When A Child Is Born" (previously a hit for Mathis) and "The Lord's Prayer".

Signing with Columbia Records in 1980 and restored to its familiar quartet form, Gladys Knight & the Pips began releasing new material. The act enlisted former Motown producers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson for their first two LPs--"About Love" (1980) and "Touch" (1981). During this period, Knight kicked a gambling addiction to the game baccarat.

In 1987, Knight decided to pursue a solo career, and she and the Pips recorded their final LP together, "All Our Love" (1987), for MCA Records. Its lead single, "Love Overboard", was a successful hit and won a second Grammy for the act as well. After a successful 1988 tour, the Pips retired and Knight began her solo career. Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame [cite web|url=|title=The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Music Store] in 1989 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [cite web|url=|title=Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Gladys Knight and The Pips] in 1996.

Solo music career

While still with The Pips, Knight joined with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John on the 1986 AIDS benefit single, "That's What Friends Are For" which won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. In 1989, Gladys Knight recorded the title track for the James Bond movie "Licence to Kill," a top 10 hit both in the UK, reaching #6, and Germany.

Knight's third solo LP, "Good Woman", was released by MCA in 1991. It rose to #1 on the R&B album chart and featured the #2 R&B hit "Men". The album also featured "Superwoman", written by Babyface and featuring Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle. Knight and LaBelle would collaborate the same year on "I Don't Do Duets", a duet with Patti LaBelle from LaBelle's album "Burnin'".

Her fourth solo LP, "Just for You", went gold and was nominated for the 1995 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. During this period, Knight was briefly married to motivational speaker Les Brown. It was also during this period that her eldest son, Jimmy III, died in his sleep at the age of 36. [cite web|url=|title=James Newman, Gladys Knight's Son And Manager, Dies In Las Vegas At 36]

Now married to William McDowell, Knight joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1997. She had occasionally teased LDS Church president, the late Gordon B. Hinckley, that his flock needs to inject some "pep" into their music. [2006 September, Desert Saints Magazine] Knight created and now directs the Mormon-themed choir Saints Unified Voices [] . SUV has released a Grammy Award-winning CD titled "One Voice", and occasionally performs at the Mormon church firesides. In 2008, a duet between Knight and Johnny Mathis was released on Mathis' album "A Night to Remember". Knight is ranked number eighteen on VH1 network's list of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock.

In the spring of 2008, Gladys appeared alongside Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle and Diana Ross at the 'Divas with Heart' concert in aid of cardiac research, at New York's Radio City Hall.

In 2008 Gladys, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Stiller performed on American Idol to raise money for charity.

Acting and other work

Knight guest-starred on several television series throughout the 1980s and 1990s ,with roles on "Benson", "The Jeffersons", "A Different World", "Living Single", "The Jamie Foxx Show" and "New York Undercover". In 1985, she co-starred on the CBS sitcom "Charlie and Co." with comedian Flip Wilson. It lasted for one season.

Knight owns a chain of chicken and waffles restaurants based in Atlanta. [cite web|url=|title=Official Gladys Knight & Ron Winans Chicken and Waffles website] The Gladys Knight & Ron Winans' Chicken & Waffles currently have three locations - two in the Atlanta area and one in Largo, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., in The Boulevard at the Capital Centre. [Family Business - Gladys Knight co-owner of restaurant in Atlanta "Jet" Dec 11, 2000]

Awards, Honors and Achievements

*Grammy Awards
** 1986 Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal - "That's What Friends Are For" - Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight & Stevie Wonder.
** 2001 Best Traditional R&B Vocal Album - "At Last"
** 2004 Best Gospel Performance - "Heaven Help Us All" - Ray Charles & Gladys Knight.
** 2005 Best Gospel Choir Or Chorus Album - "One Voice" - Gladys Knight & The Saints Unified Voices.

*Other awards
** 1995 Gladys Knight was awarded a [ star] on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. [ cite web|url=|title=Recipient and location of Hollywood Walk of Fame Star]
** 2005: Gladys Knight received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the BET cable network.
** 2006: Gladys Knight received a Legendary Award from the Las Vegas Music Awards.
** 2007: Gladys Knight was declared the "Empress of Soul" and presented with the 16th Annual Ella Award by the Society of Singers
** 2008: Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder were presented with the Best Living Legend Award at the 1st Annual The BET Honors. [ cite web|url=|title=1st Annual The BET Honors]
** 2008: Gladys Knight received the Lifetime Diva Award at the Stardust Music Awards in March.
** 2008: Gladys Knight was honored by The National Black Arts Festival and The Coca Cola Company at the 2008 Legends Celebration. [ cite web|url=|title=Westmark, Jan. "Celebrity News Service"]

Solo discography


* 1978: "It's A Better Than Good Time"
* 1979: "Am I Too Late"
* 1979: "I Just Want To Be With You"
* 1985: "That's What Friends Are For" (with Dionne Warwick, Elton John & Stevie Wonder) (US #1 Pop, R&B and AC, UK #16)
* 1987: "Love Overboard" (#13 Pop, #1 R&B)
* 1989: "License to Kill" (#6 UK, #18 US AC)
* 1990: "If I Knew Then What I Know Now" (with Kenny Rogers) (#9 US AC)
* 1991: "Meet Me in the Middle"
* 1991: "Men" (R&B #2)
* 1991: "Superwoman" (with Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle): airplay-only
* 1992: "Where Would I Be"
* 1994: "End of the Road" Medley: "If You Don't Know Me by Now"/"Love Don't Love Nobody"
* 1994: "I Don't Want to Know" (R&B #32)
* 1995: "Next Time" (R&B #30)
* 2003: [ Feelin' Good ("Vacilon")] (Jazz/Salsa/R&B)


* 1978: "Miss Gladys Knight"
* 1979: "Gladys Knight"
* 1991: "Good Woman"
* 1994: "Just For You"
* 1998: "Many Different Roads"
* 2001: "At Last"
* 2005: "One Voice" (with Saints Unified Voices)
* 2006: "Before Me"
* 2006: "A Christmas Celebration" (with Saints Unified Voices)


*1973 - "Save the Children" (documentary)
*1976 - "Pipe Dreams"
*1983 - "The Jeffersons" (episode "The Good Life")
*1985 - "Charlie & Co."
*1987 - "Desperado"
*1993 - "Twenty Bucks"
*1994 - "Wheel of Fortune" (celebrity contestant)
*1999 - "Ally McBeal" (episode "Seeing Green")
*2003 - "Hollywood Homicide"
*2005 - "Unbeatable Harold"
*2006 - "The Young Messiah - Messiah XXI" (DVD)
*2008 - "30 Rock" (episode: "Episode 210")

Published works

*Knight, Gladys. "At Home With Gladys Knight", McGraw-Hill, 2001 - ISBN 1580400752
*Knight, Gladys. "Between Each Line of Pain and Glory: My Life Story", Hyperion Press, 1998 - ISBN 0786883715


External links

* [ Official website]
*imdb name|id=0460912|name=Gladys Knight
* [ Saints Unified Voices]
* [ Article explaining the creation of Saints Unified Voices]
* [ Sharing the Gospel Through Music] -
* [,,186-1698_2214164,00.html "City Press" (S.Africa) article]
* [,,407_2203712~A,00.html "Capetown" (S.Africa) article]
* [ Gladys Knight featured at the Hawaii Romance Festival, May 2008]
* [ Early article referencing Gladys Knight as Empress of Soul.]
* [ "Ottowa Sun", "Empress of Soul closes out Jazzfest in style."]
* [ Buffalo Resort and Casino To Host "The Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight.]

NAME = Knight, Gladys
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Knight, Gladys Maria
SHORT DESCRIPTION = American singer
DATE OF BIRTH = May 28, 1944
PLACE OF BIRTH = Atlanta, Georgia, United States

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