Gladys Knight has spent a lifetime setting the standard of musicality seemingly above and beyond what is achievable. She has inspired hosts of musicians and fans throughout the world, and continues in her art of song with grace and passion.
Dana King wrote, “Gladys Knight is one of those converts, having been a member of our faith for more than 10 years now. Using her celebrity, she has a personal mission to bridge the ural divide within our faith, and reach out to those unfamiliar with our doctrines and beliefs.
Her platform: The Saints Unified Voices (SUV Choir), a multi-cultural choir that predominately shares the rich African American heritage of music.
Sister Knight said, ‘You know me, I was raised to love Christ and His Gospel, I would not believe something that doesn’t testify of Him.'”
When only 7, she won the Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour TV show contest. Gladys, her brother Merald, her sister Brenda, and cousins William and Eleanor Guest formed The Pips the following year. Brenda and Eleanor were replaced by Edward Patten and Langston George, Gladys’s cousins. Their song, “Ever Beat of My heart” became a # 1 R&B single and #6 pop hit in 1962. After Langston left The Pips, they renamed themselves “Gladys Knight and The Pips”.
Gladys and her husband soon had 2 children, Jimmy Jr. and Kenya. In 1966, they joined Motown, and brought several hites to the music world, then moved to Buddah Records in 1973, where they won Grammy Awards for hits like “Midnight Train to Georgia” and others.
Jimmy Newman and Gladys divorced, and she later married Barry Hankerson in 1976. Barry and Gladys had one son, Shanga Ali. She was nominated for Best New Actress at the Golden Globes for her role in the film “Pipe Dreams”, which was produced by her husband, Hankerson.
Aside from the successes that Gladys Knight and The Pips enjoyed, including #1 hits on the R&B charts over the years and an induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, Gladys has been extremely popular as a solo artist. She performed “That’s What Friends Are For” with many other music artists in 1986, and won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. In 1989, she recorded the title track for License to Kill, a James Bond film, which song hit the top 10 in Europe. Gladys played many roles on TV.
Gladys has received or won many Grammy Awards and other recognitions, but has lived through tragedy as well. Her eldest son, Jimmy Jr., died at age 36 in his sleep in 1999.
Gladys Knight was honored to record “Heaven Help Us All”, a duet with Ray Charles on his last album “Ray Charles”. She also received a Grammy for her album she made with the All Saints Choir.