Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gladys Knight and the Pips--Midnight Train to Georgia (1973)

     For many of my vintage, when you think of Gladys Knight and the Pips, you are taken back to the early/mid 70's. For others it goes back to the late 60's with songs like, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine". Actually however, the story of the group goes back to 1952 when at the age of 7 she won Ted Mack's Amateur Hour. The next year Gladys, along with her brother Bubba, sister Brenda, the cousins William and Eleanor Guest began, "The Pips". They began to tour regularly with cousins Langston George and Edward Patton replacing Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest in 1959.

     Their first hit was in 1961 with "Every Beat of My Heart" which began a streak of 41 top 100 hits with 16 of them being top 20. Gladys took a couple of years off to start a family, but was back for good in 1964. Their real popularly began after signing with Motown in 1966. By the way...despite how much Motown wanted you to believe that Diana Ross "discovered" the Jackson Five, it was Gladys Knight who recommended them to Berry Gordy. 1973/74 was the peak of their success having 5 top 5 songs which "Midnight Train to Georgia" was the first and only No. 1.

     The first clip is an audio from Gladys Knight's performance on the Ted Mack show at the age of 7...Happy 67th birthday!!


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