Happy Birthday to Gladys Knight, who turns 69 today (May 28th)!!! Born in Atlanta, Knight got her start performing gospel music in her local church choir, and by the age of seven she won first prize on the TV show Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour. Shortly thereafter, Knight helped form the Pips with her brother Merald -- better known as "Bubba" -- and two cousins, Edward Patten and William Guest.
The group signed to Motown Records in 1966, where they scored major hits such as "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "If I Were Your Woman," and "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)." After leaving Motown in the mid-'70s, Knight and the Pips moved to Buddha Records and recorded a string of smashes, including "Midnight Train To Georgia" and "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me." Gladys Knight & The Pips parted ways in 1989 and Knight continues to record as a solo artist. In 2007 Knight released her critically acclaimed collection of standards, called Before Me.
Knight continues to tour frequently and says that she never tires of performing: "I have really, over my lifetime, been given something wonderful. And I didn't know it in the beginning, y'know? It took me a while to realize that I had been blessed with something. But I've been singing all of this time, and y'know, every time I step on that stage, the other blessing is, it's brand new for me. So I just love it, I really do."
She admits that unlike other veteran artists, she's never grown tired of performing any of her legendary hits: "I love to sing every song that I've done, and I'm not saying that just to make everything all right here. Every audience is different, and I feed on what you give me, so it's really not about the song -- it's about the actual performance. It's about us coming together, and that makes it OK for me to sing that song over and over and over again, because it's a new chemistry."
Gladys Knight tour dates (subject to change):
June 7 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
June 27 - Charlotte, NC - Belk Theater (with The O'Jays)
June 30 - Durham, NC - Durham Performing Arts Center
August 2 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater
August 3 - Saratoga, CA - The Mountain Winery (with The O'Jays)
August 16 - Hammond, IN - The Venue At Horseshoe Casino
August 22 - Baltimore, MD - Pier Six Pavilion with (with The O'Jays)
August 23 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Hallwith (with The O'Jays)
Photo Courtesy of PRPhotos.com