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BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROFILE (GLADYS KNIGHT) February 26, 2015

Posted by msbobbieg in Uncategorized.
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(GLADYS KNIGHT)       A Star By Far

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Ms. Bobbie Jones

BH 15 GK 4By the time this Motown treasure was age 4 she had achieved more than most adults could have ever imagined.  At the age 4 she made her solo singing debut and in doing so won her first in a line of many prizes on the famed Ted Mack Amateur HourGladys Knight wasBH 15 GK 3 well on her way to becoming a musical legend and although she may have not been born in the Motor City she sure was one of the best things that ever happened to the Motown Label.

 

She was born Gladys Maria Knight on May 28, 1944 in Atlanta, GA and by the time she had turned 8 years of age music was already the family business.  Gladys had formed the Pips with her brother Bubba leading the way along with a couple of cousins and other family members but soon the famous pips would only be comprised of four of Gladys’s family members always with her brother Bubba and the head and looking out for his little sister.

Gladys, the Pips and all their musical talents hit the road in the Deep South to perform on what was called the Chitterlings Circuit of the 1950’s Gladys performed for such BH 15 GK 6legendary acts as Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson.  Their first single (Whistle My Love) in 1957 scored some minor success but the big hits did not arrive until Gladys and the Pips made it over to Motown.

Now, to let Gladys tell it she was very reluctant to sign with Motown, she felt the label was too big and that her and her family members would not get the care and grooming young artist would need and as well-being an outsider did not help the matter.  However, she reluctantly signed on with Motown and with the great talented team of writers Gladys scored one of her biggest hits.  (I Heard It through the Grapevine) in 1967.

Growing up in and singing in the church gave Gladys one of those deep down home voices that when she sang a song that song told a story and with every word, her voice drew you into that story.  I believe that’s what made Gladys so popular and so loved till this day.  Not only could a person relate but one could believe and that’s the thing you need when you are telling a story and Gladys can do that like no one else can.

BH 15 GK 7Gladys Knight and the Pips hit the road with the Motown Revue and performed for their fans, as well as making many television appearances. I’m sure it was a great pleasure when Ms. Gladys showed up on shows like Soul Train and the Flip Wilson Show in the 70’s.  It kept her grounded and close to her fans.

By the time Gladys left Motown records in 1973 to sign with Buddah Records she was a Mother and a talented recording artist but soon she would add many more credits behind her name.  Although, being a young wife and mother by the age of 16 did not slow Ms. Gladys down after the passing of her young husband she did have to take some time to regroup.  The passing of Jimmy Newman left Gladys a single mother to raise two young Children and she spoke about this in VH1’s Behind the Music.

By the time the late 70’s rolled around Gladys would call Las Vegas her home and along with bidding her time during labor and contract disputes she would performBH 15 Gladys K 1 and the Vegas hotels as a way to take care of her family.  But, as we all know with the bright lights and big noise of Vegas comes all of its problems.  Now, although Ms. Gladys saw hanging out and gambling at the casinos as a fun way to pass the time I bet she would have never guessed what a corrosive element this fun pass time would turn out to be.

Gladys The Survivor

No matter what the circumstance or the situation Gladys was never far from the top and nothing could ever keep her down.  There was always a record label to offer Gladys a home even after her split with Motown and her subsequent lawsuit with them for back royalties.  Whether it was Motown, Buddah, Columbia or MCA Gladys had an avenue to let herBH 15 GK 8 voice be heard by the masses and we loved it.

Facing up to the fact that a very ugly problem had been brewing for some 10 years in the late 80’s Ms. Gladys joined gamblers Anonymous which helped her quit the habit.  Not only did she kick her gambling addiction she won her lawsuit with Motown and still gets a nice little check and a lesson she can pass on to many – never let anything or anyone keep you down.

Now, that’s using your Imagination.

Thank you Ms. Gladys Knight !!!

Copyright © Ms. Bobbie Jones – February 26, 2015

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