Gladys Knight & The Pips were an R&B/soul family musical act from Atlanta, Georgia, active from 1953 to 1989. The group was best known for their string of hit singles on Motown's "Soul" record label and Buddah Records from 1967 to 1975, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1967) and "Midnight Train to Georgia" (1973). The longest-lived incarnation of the act featured Gladys Knight on lead vocals, with The Pips, who included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and their cousins Edward Patten and William Guest, as backup singers.
Their biggest Motown hit was 1972's #1 R&B/ #2 pop hit "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)", which won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus.
On the A&E Network television program Biography, Knight stated that she and the Pips were regarded as a second-string act, and that "Diana (Ross) & the Supremes, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye were given all the hits, while we took the leftovers." In Knight's autobiography Between Each Line of Pain and Glory: My Life Story, she stated that Diana Ross had the group removed from being The Supremes' opening act on a 1968 tour for, according to Knight, being too good.
Many of Gladys Knight and the Pips' hits in the mid-1970s were written by country songwriter Jim Weatherly. Knight and the Pips charted with five of Weatherly's songs in 1973 and 1974: "Midnight Train to Georgia," "Neither One of Us," "Where Peaceful Waters Flow," "The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me," and "Between Her Goodbye and My Hello."
Gladys Knight & the Pips embarked on their final tour in 1988 and disbanded upon its conclusion, as Gladys Knight decided she wanted to pursue a solo career. The Pips retired, while Gladys Knight began scoring hits of her own with singles such as "Men" (1991) and "I Don't Want to Know" (1994).
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 1998. Ms. Knight, now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, continues to tour and record occasionally, and leads the Saints Unified Voices choir. Edward Patten of the Pips died in February 2005, of complications from his long bout with diabetes.
Gladys Knight & the Pips are ranked as the ninth most successful act in The Billboard Top 40 Book of R&B and Hip-Hop Hits (2005). They were also ranked #91 on VH1's Top 100 Artists of Rock n' Roll. In June 2006, Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Apollo Theater's Hall Of Fame in New York City.
In 2007, The Pips appeared in a commercial for the auto insurance company Geico. As Edward Patten had died two years prior, one of Gladys Knight's current backing singers, Neil Taffe, accompanied the remaining Pips.
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