Gospel-rooted Gladys Knight, with her brother and cousins, the Pips, singing and dancing behind her, became one of soul music’s brightest stars in the 1960s, first on small labels and then on a large scale as one of Motown’s key acts.
Their hits for the label included “Friendship Train,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “It Should Have Been Me,” but they didn’t top the charts until they moved to Buddah Records in the 1970s and released “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Knight took advantage of their mid-'70s popularity and crossed over to film, starring in “Pipe Dreams.” She would later act in more movies and such TV series as “Charlie and Company,” “JAG” and “New York Undercover.”
The group soon took a more adult-contemporary direction, and Knight continued as a solo artist after the Pips retired, remaining active on tour and in the recording studio. In the 2000s she released albums of R&B, gospel and jazz. Knight and the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.