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Ms. GLADYS KNIGHT: (Singing) I saw my love...

ED GORDON, host:

Today we celebrate the birth of singing sensation Gladys Knight. The Georgia native was only four years old when she joined her first gospel choir, and before she was 10, she formed a group made up of family members. They called themselves The Pips, after their cousin and band manager James "Pip" Woods. The Pips made the top 40 a couple of times in the early '60s, but a move to the Motown label in 1966 led to Gladys Knight & The Pips' big move. They would achieve worldwide fame with classic songs like "I Heard It Through The Grapevine."

(Soundbite of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine")

Ms. KNIGHT: (Singing) And I'm just about, just about, just about to lose my mind.

GORDON: Knight & The Pips later moved to Buddha Records and continued to score hit after hit, including their signature song "Midnight Train To Georgia."

(Soundbite of "Midnight Train To Georgia")

Ms. KNIGHT: (Singing) He said he would. And now he's leaving...

THE PIPS: (Singing) Leaving.

Ms. KNIGHT: (Singing) ...on that midnight train to Georgia.

THE PIPS: (Singing) Leaving on that midnight train.

Ms. KNIGHT: (Singing) Yeah.

GORDON: Knight later went on to have more success as a solo artist, and she continues to be one of the most popular R&B singers of all time. So we wish a happy 61st birthday to the great Gladys Knight.

(Soundbite of "Midnight Train To Georgia")

Ms. KNIGHT: (Singing) ...on that midnight train to Georgia.

THE PIPS: (Singing) Leaving on that midnight train.

Ms. KNIGHT: (Singing) Yeah.

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