May 28

Gladys Knight

May 28, 1944 - Atlanta

She will forever be taking that midnight train to Georgia.

Gladys Knight, the “Empress of Soul,” was born in Atlanta in 1944. At age 7, she gained national fame by taking top honors on Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour,” forerunner to “American Idol.” At a 1952 party, Gladys began an impromptu performance with family members. Gladys Knight and the Pips were born.

Named for cousin and manager James “Pip” Woods, the group’s first big hit was 1961’s “Every Beat of my Heart.” They would go on to score 24 top 40 hits over the next decade and a half, including “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” and “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination,” all #1 hits on the R&B chart. 1973’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” earned them a Grammy and went to #1 on the pop charts.

Gladys Knight, who led the Pips into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, was born on May 28, 1944, Today in Georgia History.