Knight - Senior Living Guide

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Knight - Senior Living Guide
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Knight Time
is the Right Time
By Bill Clements
Some 17 years ago while preparing for an
industry event, a very good friend of mine
who was performing at the event, told me
“Gladys Knight is one of the greatest of all
time, she’s a legend”. This friend was performing several songs at the event, all from
Knight and I was curious why her. “If I were
your Woman” and of course “Midnight Train
to Georgia”. I remember never having paid
that much attention to them prior to this
time but definitely thinking they were great
songs. They were already classics then and
still hold up today for sure. Interestingly it
was at this time 17 years back (1995), that
Knight was about to get her star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the next year,
Gladys Knight & The Pips were inducted
into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Recently the newest “cast” members for the
upcoming season of ABC’s Dancing with the
Stars was announced with Gladys Knight
being one of them. Season 14 of the show
promises to again be an exciting one. We
can only hope that besides ideally being a
great dancer, we may get to hear Ms. Knight
belt a few of her beloved songs for us. To
be fair, this announcement was what got
me thinking about Gladys Knight again and
wondering what she had been up to lately.
Turns out that the answer to that is a LOT.
No sooner than you get to her website www.
gladysknight.com you quickly begin to see
that she’s got a large number of live events
pending (still selling out shows night after
night) and she’s still making new music.
She was part of a sold out show as recent
as late 2009 at Wimbley Stadium, one of
the worlds’ largest venues. To do this right
though, let’s take this from the top.
Gladys Knight was born in Atlanta, Georgia
in 1944 and this May will be 68 years old.
By the age of 8, she, her brother, sister and
two cousins formed a musical group called
The Pips (named after another cousin,
James "Pip" Woods). The group soon made
a few staffing changes resulting in the
famous lineup that would record their classics. Gladys Knight & the Pips joined the
Motown roster in 1966 and in no time put
out several hit singles, including "I Heard It
Through the Grapevine", "Friendship Train",
"If I Were Your Woman" (1970), "I Don't
Want To Do Wrong", the Grammy Award
winning "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the
First to Say Goodbye)" (1972), and "Daddy
Could Swear (I Declare)". It was about this
time that the group left Motown for another
label but continued putting out hits including the top of the charts smash "Midnight
Train to Georgia" and "You're the Best Thing
That Ever Happened to Me". Knight, along
with the Pips, enjoyed a very successful run
into the 80’s as a group and Knight herself
shared another number one hit in 1985 with
Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Dionne
Warwick on “That’s What Friends are For.”
Gladys Knight has recorded more than 38
albums over the years including several solo
albums, duets and tributes to other artists.
Knight is a seven time Grammy winner for
her efforts in music. Her career has also
made many successful stops in television
and motion pictures.
This season’s appearance on “Dancing” is
hardly Knight’s first foray into television. A
quick tally of the TV shows Gladys Knight
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has appeared on over the years includes;
Benson, JAG, Las Vegas, American Idol, The
Jeffersons, A Different World, The Jamie
Foxx Show, 30 Rock and New York Undercover. Back in 1985, she co-starred on a CBS
sitcom Charlie & Co. with comedian Flip
Wilson that lasted only one season. This
doesn’t include countless TV appearances
performing solo or with the Pips.
Knight has also appeared
in motion pictures
(was nominated for
a Golden Globe),
recorded a
theme song
for a James
Bond Film
(License
to Kill)
and had a
successful run on
Broadway
• Nicknamed “The Empress of Soul”
• 1st US #1 Single “Midnight Train
to Georgia”, 1973
• 7 Grammys
• 7 American Music Awards
• 17 U.S. Top 20 Singles Music Awards
• Ranked 18th on VH1’s 100
Greatest Women of Rock
• Headliner, The Flamingo & The
Tropicana, Las Vegas
• Sang “The Lord’s Prayer” at
Michael Jackson’s funeral
• Sang the title theme for James
Bond film “License to Kill”
• Contestant, 14th season of
Dancing with the Stars, ABC
(Smokey Joe’s Café). This lady can do it all,
and seemingly she has.
As far as performing live, Gladys Knight has
had a great run during the last decade in Las
Vegas where her business entity is headquartered. A longtime resident, the “Empress of
Soul” enjoyed a “Welcome Home” special
engagement at the famed Tropicana Hotel
alongside an 11-piece band and her
brother Bubba, one of the
original Pips. According to her website,
Knight, was a top
draw at the
Flamingo for
five years in
the early
2000s,
where
her show
was repeatedly
named
the Las
Vegas
Review
Journal’s
“Show of the
Year.” A visit
to her site will
detail upcoming
shows scheduled
throughout 2012.
At 67 and with no signs of slowing down, you quickly learn that Gladys
is very busy recording new music. She
is highly sought after for musical leadership within the industry and to participate
in tributes such as in the case of Michael
Jackson upon his passing. Knight is busy
of course these days as a dancer but she is
also lending her name and talents to several
other business ventures. Gladys Knight
Presents- A Shaping Tank, is a clothing
piece for women that aids in the slimming
and shaping of your figure. Knight also has
a jewelry line available at www.gladysknightjewelry.com (or link via the previously
mentioned gladysknight.com). According
to the site, the goal is to “Combine fashion
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with an awareness of social
consciousness, the new Gladys
Knight Jewelry Collection includes semi-precious components and handcrafted beads
made from recycled elements
by West African artisans and
cooperatives.” Perusing the
site yields many attractive
pieces ranging from earrings
to necklaces and statement
pieces. Per Ms. Knight “I am
so grateful for this opportunity to continue to express
my love to my fans. My
jewelry is an extension of my
music which is an extension
of my heart and soul. To have
this opportunity to employ
workers in Ghana and create
jewelry that is environmentally friendly while at the
same time affordable, is a
dream come true!” A portion
of the proceeds from the sale
of each piece of jewelry will
be donated to the Kumasi
Women’s Cooperative in Ghana which has supplied some
of the beads for the Gladys
Knight Jewelry Collection.
Gladys Knight seems to truly operate from
the heart however it would appear that this
remarkable woman can operate on interests
of the stomach as well. As part of a partnership with family and friends, Gladys is a part
of Gladys Knight and Ron Winans’ Chicken
and Waffles with several locations in her
hometown of Atlanta. Chicken and waffles
is a concept born out of Harlem, New York
in the early part of the last century and no
doubt provides a tasty opportunity for many
a hungry visitor.
I look forward to checking out Gladys during the new season on Dancing. She is always vibrant and upbeat and I never count
anyone out on these types of shows as they
often surprise us with hidden talents and
abilities. Audience voting gets you far on
this show and she has a lot of fans. She’s
been on the seen (as James Brown would
say) for a long time now and I’m betting
she goes far here and who knows, we
might see our first “mature aged” winner
this go round. Regardless, I’m the big
winner right this moment having gained a
much greater knowledge of Gladys Knight,
her Pips, her career and accomplishments.
It is always great to see our living legends
returning to their glory before our eyes
and enjoying newfound fame and interest.
Photo Credits ABC/ DWTS, Gladysknight.com