HomeEntertainmentHappy Birthday Gladys Knight: Celebrating The Empress of Soul’s Best Moments

Happy Birthday Gladys Knight: Celebrating The Empress of Soul’s Best Moments

by Katie Maloney
Photo credit: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for Super Bowl Gospel

Happy 77th Birthday Gladys Knight!

The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight turns 77 today. And we have decades worth of iconic music to thank her for. So, to celebrate Knight’s 77th journey around the sun we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Gladys Knight career moments.

When She Made Her Solo Performance Debut In 1948

Alright, so this one may not actually be considered a huge part of her career, but it’s important nonetheless! In 1948 Gladys Knight performed solo for the very first time ever at the age of four. For the performance, she sang at the Mount Mariah Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. No, her performance may not have landed her a spot on the Billboard charts. But when the baby Empress of Soul performs, we take note! Little did anybody know the accomplishments Knight would grow to achieve.

When She Formed The Pips With Her Family

In 1952, 8-year-old Gladys Knight formed The Pips with her brother Merald, sister Brenda, and two cousins, Eleanor and William Guest. Young Gladys supplied throaty vocals while the other Pips offered impressive harmonies and fun dance routines. As the group grew in popularity, they began opening for icons like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke.

When The Pips Landed Their First Grammy Award

The Pips found success with Motown Records during the sixties but it wasn’t until the group left the company and joined Buddha records in the 70s that they truly found the success they deserved. Ironically, the groups last single with Motown records was titled, “Neither One of Us Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye.” And it became the group’s first number one crossover hit and a Grammy winner for Best Pop Vocal Performance in 1973.

Gladys Knight & The Pips “Neither One of Us Wants to Say Goodbye”

When The Group Released Their Imagination Album

Now with Buddha Records, Gladys Knight & The Pips released their most successful album, Imagination in1973. The album included three gold singles. The songs included “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and the Grammy Award-winning number one song “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

Gladys Knight & The Pips song “Midnight Train to Georgia”

When Gladys Knight & The Pips Released Their Final Album Together

The group moved to MCA Records in 1988, and released their final album together, All Our Love. The album was a beautiful conclusion to decades worth of success for Gladys Knight & The Pips. Additionally, the album included the Grammy-winning single “Love Overboard.” The song is about feeling as if you’re drowning in love. During the song, the group sings, “Cause I only wanna show you, what you mean to me. Every time I’m reachin’ out to you, I start to sink. I may be drowning with desire from your sweet, sweet touch. I don’t care what people say ’cause I love you so much. Love overboard.”

Gladys Knight & The Pips “Love Overboard”

When Gladys Knight Went Solo

Most artists who leave the groups they became famous with take a little while to establish themselves as solo artists. But not Gladys Knight. Knight didn’t just go solo, she launched her solo career and immediately landed the opportunity to sing the title track for the James Bond film “License to Kill” in 1989. 

“License to Kill” by Gladys Knight