I was thinking about GLADYS KNIGHT the other day. Her cover of one of Marvin's most covered songs, I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE, is generally considered to be the best version, although CCR also gets a lot of votes. Along with the PIPS (Her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest, Gladys Knight has scored major hits in 3 decades, (60's, 70's and 80's), a record few other artists outside of the top drawer can claim.
It's fair to say she was a Child Prodigy, getting her start winning on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour on TV in 1952 at 7 years of age, and scoring her first hit record 9 years later in 1968 with "Every Beat of My Heart." In 1969 teaming up with her brother and two cousins (The Pips were named after another cousin) their rendition of Marvin's "Grapevine" hit #1 on the R&B Chart and crossed over to Pop.
She and the Pips left Motown in 1973 feeling they weren't getting the attention they deserved at the Detroit Label and going to Buddah, where they began with their first #1 R&B and Pop Giant Single, "Midnight Train to Georgia," (My favorite, I've written about it on our dedicated website: www.thedonrocks.com) and establishing Gladys and the Boys as Major Hit Makers.
Fun Fact: Gladys swore that Diana Ross kicked her off her tour as opening act because the crowd loved Gladys more. So here we go with Gladys Knight, age 16, with her brother, cousins, and their Megahit, I Heard It Thought the Grapevine on Soul Train. @therealdonrocks
A version of this post originally appeared on The Don Rocks Facebook page. For more stories like these every day, join us on Facebook and Twitter.