Grammy Winner Gladys Knight Wows the Crowd at the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts
By CHERYL TILLMAN LEE
Grammy Award winning Gladys Knight, along with three background singers brought the house down on Friday night September 25, at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.
Knight wowed the crowd with such songs like: “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye),” “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Every Beat of My Heart,” “If I Were Your Woman,” “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” “Friendship Train,” among other songs, bringing the audience to its feet with thunderous applause.
Gladys Maria Knight known as “the Empress of Soul,” is an American R&B/soul singer-songwriter, actress, businesswoman, humanitarian and author. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Elizabeth (nÅ½e Woods) and Merald Knight, Sr., a postal worker. She first achieved minor fame by winning Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour TV show contest at the age of 7 in 1952. The following year she, her brother Merald, sister Brenda, and cousins William and Eleanor Guest formed a musical group called The Pips (named after another cousin, James “Pip” Woods). By the end of the decade, the act had begun to tour, and had replaced Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest with Gladys Knight’s cousin Edward Patten and friend Langston George.
In 1961, Bobby Robinson produced the single “Every Beat of My Heart” for the group, which became a number one R&B and number 6 pop hit when released on Vee-Jay Records.
In 1962, Langston George left the group, which at that time renamed itself, Gladys Knight & the Pips and continued as a quartet.
In 1962, after scoring a second hit, “Letter Full of Tears,” Knight gave birth to a son, Jimmy III, that year. She retired from the road to raise her child while The Pips toured on their own. After giving birth in 1963 to a daughter Kenya, Knight returned to recording with the Pips in order to support her family.
After going solo, Knight’s achievements continued to multiply with chart-topping albums like “One Good Woman,” featuring the hit songs “Men,” and “Superwoman,” and the gold-certified “Just for You,” which earned a 1995 Grammy nomination for “Best R&B Album.” Knight was added to VH1’s list of “100 Greatest Women in Rock and Roll.” She cemented her Grammy winning streak with the albums “At Last,” “One Voice,” and the hits “Heaven Help Us All,” “That’s What Friends Are For.” Musical praise has opened doors to more creative opportunities for knight, including Hollywood.
She is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, the most famous incarnation of which also included her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.
She made her motion picture debut in the romantic drama “Pipe Dreams,” a role that earned her a Best New Actress Golden Globe nomination. Knight also starred on the televised shows “Benson,” “The Jefferson’s,” “Living Single,” and “A Different World.”
Gladys Knight has earned numerous awards, and is a legendary music icon whose influence has impacted generations of hit-making contemporary artists. She is truly a world-renowned vocalist and entertainer.