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Gladys Knight and The Pips

Gladys Knight was born in 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of seven in 1952, she won Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour television show contest. 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). The Pips began to perform and tour, eventually replacing Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest with Langston George in 1959 and Edward Patten in 1963.

The Pips scored their first hit in 1961 with "Every Beat of My Heart", a cover of a Hank Ballard & The Midnighters song written by Johnny Otis. The group had recorded the song for a friend in Atlanta, who promptly sold the master to Vee-Jay Records and cut the group out of the record's profits. The Pips recorded a second version of "Every Beat" with Bobby Robinson as the producer, and the song became a #1 R&B and #6 pop hit. Shortly afterwards, Langston George left the group, and the remaining members continued as a quartet, now billed as Gladys Knight & the Pips. Typically, most of the act's recordings featured Knight's contralto on lead vocals and the three male members of the group, usually referred to as "The Pips" by themselves, providing characteristic background vocals.

After a second Fury hit, "Letter Full of Tears", in 1962, Knight quit the group to start a family with husband James Newman, giving birth to James Gaston Newman III in August of that year. Her second child Kenya Maria Newman was born in November the following year. The Pips toured on their own for two years, until Knight returned to the act in 1964 in order to support her family. Husband Newman served as the group's musical director.

The group developed a reputation for exciting and polished live performances that enabled them to work even without the benefit of best-selling records. Choreographer Cholly Atkins designed "fast-stepping" dance routines that became a signature of the Pips' stage presentation. As a matter of fact, according to Atkins' autobiography, "Class Act: The Jazz Life of Choreographer Cholly Atkins", which he wrote with Jacqui Malone in 2001: "The one thing that I was pleased about was a stipulation in my contract that allowed me to keep working with Gladys Knight & The Pips as personal clients even though I would be an employee of Motown Records. To tell the truth, Gordy wasn't too happy about it at first, but this is something that I would not compromise under any circumstances. By that time, Gladys and the guys were like my own children!"

Gladys Knight & The Pips were an R&B/soul family musical act from Atlanta, Georgia, active from 1953 to 1989. The group was best known for their string of hit singles on Motown's "Soul" record label and Buddah Records from 1967 to 1975, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1967) and "Midnight Train to Georgia" (1973). The longest-lived incarnation of the act featured Gladys Knight on lead vocals, with The Pips, who included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and their cousins Edward Patten and William Guest, as backup singers.

Gladys Knight & The Pips are multiple Grammy and American Music Award winners, and are inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame[1] and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1996 and 2001 respectively.

Holiday

Do You Hear What I Hear

Members of this Group


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