GRAMMY Living History Moments With Gladys Knight

The Empress of Soul discusses the Pips, planes, trains, and mining GRAMMY gold
  • Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
    Gladys Knight
November 19, 2010 -- 1:19 pm PST

Seven-time GRAMMY winner Gladys Knight is featured in the latest installment of GRAMMY Living History Moments, a new series showcasing excerpts from the GRAMMY Foundation's Living Histories archive. Knight discusses topics such as the formation of Gladys Knight And The Pips, their GRAMMY-winning hit "Midnight Train To Georgia," what it means to win a GRAMMY, and more.

"We had called [songwriter] Jim Weatherly about the lyrics to the song, because in the beginning it was 'Midnight Plane To Houston,'" said Knight regarding the origins of "Midnight Train To Georgia." "We [weren't] crazy about flying. In my young days I rode the train everywhere, and we're from Atlanta, Georgia. So we said, 'Houston, well, nice city but we don't much about it. Why can't we say it's a "Midnight Train To Georgia?"' And Jim loved the idea."

Born in Atlanta, Knight rose to prominence in the '60s with Gladys Knight And The Pips on Motown Records. Joined by brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and cousins William Guest and Edward Patten, the R&B/soul group recorded hits such as "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "Friendship Train," "If I Were Your Woman," and "I Don't Want To Do Wrong," among others. The Pips won three GRAMMY Awards, including Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for "Midnight Train To Georgia" in 1973. The song was also inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999. The group disbanded in 1988 and Knight pursued a solo career. The Empress of Soul has won four additional GRAMMY Awards as a solo artist, including Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal with Elton John, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder for "That's What Friends Are For" in 1986, and Best Gospel Choir Or Chorus Album for One Voice in 2005. Knight is among the artists scheduled to perform at the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York on Nov. 25.

The GRAMMY Foundation's Living Histories program preserves on videotape the life stories of key recording industry professionals and visionaries who helped create the history of recorded sound. This footage is utilized by the GRAMMY Foundation and its partner organizations to develop educational video programs that tell the unique stories of our musical history through the unfiltered voices of its makers. To date, the Foundation has completed more than 200 interviews with artists, producers, executives and technology pioneers. 

GRAMMY Living History Moments: Clive Davis


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