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date: 11 December 2019

Gladys Knight and the Pipslocked

  • Andrew Flory

Extract

Rhythm-and-blues group led by Gladys (Maria) Knight (b Atlanta, GA, 28 May 1944). Comprising vocalists from a single extended African American family, the backing group known as the Pips changed lineup frequently between 1957 and 1962. Later members included William Guest (b Atlanta, GA, 2 June 1941), Merald “Bubba” Knight Jr. (b Atlanta, 4 Sept 1942), and Edward Patten (b Atlanta, 27 Aug 1939; d Livonia, MI, 25 Feb 2005). Although the group maintained an active role in the music industry for nearly three decades—incorporating rhythm and blues, country, jazz standards, mainstream pop balladry, and upbeat dance music—their music retained a remarkable uniformity, including the characteristic lead vocals of Gladys Knight, steeped in Southern gospel and supported by the Pips’ call-and-response vocals.

Knight was a child prodigy and won a television contest on The Original Amateur Hour hosted by Ted Mack in ...

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