Gladys Maria Knight (b. Gladys Maria Knight, 28th May 1944, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)
and Gladys Knight's elder brother:
'Merald' Bubba Knight (b. Merald Knight, Jr., 4th September 1942, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)
Edward Roy Patten (b. Edward Roy Patten, 22nd August 1939, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. d. 25th February 2005, Livonia, Michigan, U.S.A.)
William Guest (b. William Franklin Guest, 2nd June 1941, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. d. 24th December 2015, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Gladys Knight and the Pips were, originally formed in 1953 in Atlanta Georgia.
The ensemble were primarily active between 1953 and 1989, although it is the Sixties and Seventies periods where the group will be, probably, most fondly remembered.
At the age of seven in 1952, Gladys Knight won Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour television show contest.
gladys in 1954
The following year, she, her brother Bubba, sister Brenda, and their cousins William and Eleanor Guest started a singing group called 'The Pips' (named after another cousin, James 'Pip' Woods).
They first recorded for the Brunswick imprint in 1958.
The Pips began to perform and tour, eventually replacing Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest with cousins Langston George and Edward Patten in 1959.
The Pips scored their first hit in 1961 with 'Every Beat of My Heart' for the small Huntom label.
The song was originally a Hank Ballard & The Midnighters song, with the Pips version becoming a number 1 R&B and number 6 pop hit.
Langston George left the group, and the remaining members continued, calling themselves Gladys Knight & the Pips.
letter full of tears
After a second Vee-Jay hit, 'Letter Full of Tears', in 1962, Gladys Knight left the group to begin a family with husband James Newman.
James Gaston Newman III was born that year, with Kenya Maria Newman following in 1963.
The Pips continued to tour, with Gladys Knight returning to the line up in 1964.
'Giving Up' was a single that year (later covered by Donny Hathaway).
Signing to Motown Records in 1966, Gladys Knight & the Pips' first album, 'Everybody Needs Love' was released in 1967, and included the single 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'.
The record sold 2.5 million copies, and at the time was Motown's best-selling single ever.
Their biggest Motown hit was 1972's number 1 R & B release 'Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)', which won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Group.
Gladys Knight and the Pips departed Motown for Buddah Records in 1973.
This was as a result of the group feeling they played second string to many of the more established Motown acts.
In Gladys Knight's autobiography 'Between Each Line of Pain and Glory: My Life Story', she stated that Diana Ross asked that the group removed from being The Supremes' opening act on a 1968 tour for, allegedly, being too good.
Many of Gladys Knight and the Pips' hits in the mid-1970s were written by country songwriter Jim Weatherly.
Jim penned five hits for the group between 1973 and 1974.
These included 'Midnight Train to Georgia', 'Neither One of Us', 'Where Peaceful Waters Flow', 'The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me', and 'Between Her Goodbye and My Hello'.
'Midnight Train to Georgia' was originally to be titled 'Midnight Plane To Georgia', however the lyrics were changed at Gladys request, due to her fear of flying.
During the Buddah years of the mid Seventies, Gladys and the Pips recorded some of their most successful sides including 'I've Got to Use My Imagination' and 'Baby Don't You Change Your Mind' (a Van McCoy production).
Curtis Mayfield performed production chores in 1974 when Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded the soundtrack to the motion picture 'Claudine'.
Gladys made her acting debut in 'Pipedream' in 1976, for which the group recorded a soundtrack album.
Gladys Knight and the Pips continued to have R & B hits until the late 1980's.
From 1978 to 1980, the group were forced to record separately due to legal problems with Buddah.
Gladys Knight released two solo albums and the Pips released two albums of their own.
In 1980, the Pips signed to Columbia Records, for which Knight had recorded her second solo album.
Teaming up with songwriting husband/wife duo Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Knight & The Pips released the album About Love in 1980, which featured 'Landlord', 'Bourgie Bourgie' and 'Taste Of Bitter Love'.
Ashford & Simpson continued with Gladys and the Pips for the 1981 follow-up, 'Touch'.
The group recorded the LP 'Vision's in 1983, which resulted in a number 1 R&B hit with 'Save the Overtime (For Me)' and the ballad 'You're Number One In My Book' (later covered on a Japanese released 1985 album by Freddie Hubbard).
In 1987, Knight and the Pips released their final album, 'All Our Love', on MCA Records which was certified gold.
The album's song 'Love Overboard' became another hit and in 1988 the band also won a Soul Train Music Award for Career Achievement.
Gladys Knight & the Pips embarked on their final tour in 1988 and disbanded shortly afterwards, with Gladys pursuing a solo career again.
In 1989, Gladys sang the title song to the James Bond movie vehicle 'License To Kill'.
Gladys Knight and the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
They were also inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 1998.
In 2001, Gladys married her, long time, boyfriend, William McDowell, in Dana Point, California.
Gladys was given away by her son, Shenga.
Gladys, now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, continues to tour and record occasionally, and leads the Saints Unified Voices choir.
edward patten (left)
Edward Patten of the Pips died in February 2005, of complications following a long bout with diabetes.
William Guest (cousin of Gladys) of the Pips died in December 2015, of congestive heart failure.
Letter Full Of Tears (Fury Records 1961)
Gladys Knight And The Pips (Maxx Records 1964)
Everybody Needs Love (Soul Records 1967)
Feelin'Bluesy (Soul Records 1968)
Silk 'N' Soul (Soul Records 1969)
Nitty Gritty (Soul Records 1969)
All In A Knight's Work (Soul Records 1970)
If I Were Your Woman (Soul Records 1971)
Standing Ovation (Soul Records 1972)
Neither One Of Us (Soul Records 1973)
All I Need Is Time (Soul Records 1973)
Imagination (Buddah Records 1973)
Knight Time (Soul Records 1974)
Claudine (Buddah Records 1974)
I Feel A Song (Buddah Records 1974)
A Little Knight Music (Soul Records 1975)
Second Anniversary (Buddah Records 1975)
Bless This House (Buddah Records 1976)
Pipe Dreams film soundtrack (Buddah Records 1976)
Still Together (Buddah Records 1977)
The One And Only (Buddah Records 1978)
Gladys Knight (Columbia Records 1979)
About Love (Columbia Records 1980)
Touch (Columbia Records 1981)
That Special Time Of Year (Columbia Records 1982)
Visions (Columbia Records 1983)
Life (Columbia Records 1985)
All Our Love (MCA Records 1987)
Every Beat of My Heart (Chameleon Records 1989)
Christmas Album (Special Music Records 1989)
Gladys Knight Miss Gladys Knight (Buddah Records 1979)
Good Woman (MCA Records 1991)
Just for You (MCA Records 1994)
Lost Live Album (Buddah Records 1996)
Many Different Roads (Many Roads Records 1998)
At Last (MCA Records 2001)
Another Journey (Many Roads Records 2013)
At Last - The Pips (Casablanca Records 1979)
Callin' (Casablanca Records 1979)