Birth Date: May 28, 1944 / Age: 72
Birth Place: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Also Credited as: Gladys Knight and The Pips
Biography: Gladys Knight (born May 28, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia) is a legendary African-American R&B/soul singer and actress. 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.
Knight first zoomed to minor fame by winning Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour TV show contest at the age of 7 in 1952, due to her powerful singing voice. Her real fame started with The Pips in 1961 with the single "Every Beat of My Heart", a #1 R&B and #6 pop hit for Vee-Jay Records. In spite of a few more hits, Knight and the Pips did not achieve widespread success until 1966, after signing to Motown. While at Motown in 1968, Gladys Knight was the first person to suggest that Berry Gordy sign an up and coming act from Gary, Indiana called The Jackson 5. Gordy was reluctant to take on a kid act, however, and the Jackson 5 were not signed to Motown until Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers and Suzanne de Passe physically brought the Jacksons to Detroit, Michigan and Motown.
One of the group's first Motown singles, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", was a #2 pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a #1 R&B hit. Future hits included "Friendship Train" (one of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong's "psychedelic soul" songs), "I Don't Wanna Do Wrong", "If I Were Your Woman", and "Daddy Could Swear (I Declare)". Their biggest Motown hit was 1972's #1 R&B/#2 pop hit "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)". That single also happened to be their last Motown hit, as Knight and the Pips departed Motown for Buddah Records in 1973, citing Motown's lack of promotion and favoritism towards other Motown acts such as Diana Ross and The Temptations.
Recording for Buddah in the mid 1970s, the group hit its popular and critical peak with #1 R&B hits such as "Midnight Train to Georgia" (their only #1 pop hit), "I've Got to Use My Imagination", and "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me". Knight and the Pips continued to have hits until the late 1970s. During the late 1970s, Knight and the Pips were forced to record seperately sue to legal problems with Buddah. After a dry spell, they returned to the charts in the 1980s with the #1 R&B hits "Save the Overtime (For Me)" (1983) and "Love Overboard" (1987).
After a successful 1988 tour, the Pips retired and Gladys Knight began a career as a solo artist. Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and Ms. Knight continues to tour and record occasionally.
The cover to Gladys Knight's 2001 album At Last.
While still with The Pips, Knight also joined with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John on the 1986 AIDS benefit single, "That's What Friends Are For". In 1989, Gladys Knight recorded the title track for the James Bond movie Licence to Kill.
Gladys Knight's third solo LP was Good Woman, released in 1991 and featuring the #2 R&B hit "men". Her fourth solo LP, Just for You, went gold and was nominated for the 1995 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Her 2001 LP, At Last, won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
Knight joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1997. She has occasionally teased the LDS Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, that his flock needs to inject some "pep" into their music. Ms. Knight created and now directs the LDS (Mormon) choir Saints Unified Voices  (http://www.suvchoir.org). SUV has released a CD entitled One Voice, and occasionally performs at LDS stake firesides.