The following year, she, her brother Merald, sister Brenda, and cousins William and Elenor Guest formed a musical group called the Pips named after another cousin, James "Pip" Woods. At the same time, the group signed with Bobby Robinson's Fury label. With the success of their follow-up, "Letter Full of Tears", Fury released their first album. They stayed with Fury through , although the hits dried up.
Success with the Pips[ edit ] Main article: Gladys Knight stated in her memoirs that Ross kicked her off the tour because the audience's reception to Knight's soulful performance overshadowed her. Berry Gordy later told Gladys that she was giving his act a hard time.
In the summer of , Knight and the Pips recorded the soundtrack to the successful film Claudine with producer Curtis Mayfield. The act was particularly successful in Europe, and especially the United Kingdom. For example, "Midnight Train to Georgia" hit the UK pop charts Top 5 in the summer of , a full three years after its success in the U.
During this period of greater recognition, Knight made her motion picture acting debut in the film, Pipe Dreams , a romantic drama set in Alaska. Knight and the Pips continued to have hits until the late s, when they were forced to record separately due to legal issues, resulting in Knight's first solo LP recordings--Miss Gladys Knight on Buddah and Gladys Knight on Columbia Records.
Knight and Hankerson remained married for four years, during which time they had a son, Shanga Ali. Upon their divorce, Hankerson and Knight were embroiled in a heated custody battle over Shanga Ali.
Problems playing this file? During this period, Knight kicked a gambling addiction to the game baccarat. The song, under the artistic direction of Leon Sylvers III known for collaborating on Shalamar hits , was done in a soulful boogie style. After a successful tour, the Pips retired and Knight began her solo career. It also reached 45 on the main Billboard album chart — her all-time highest showing. The track was also nominated for a Grammy Award.
In March , Randy Jackson mentioned on a new episode of the same show that he is back in the studio with Gladys Knight working on a new album. The song was added to the movie's soundtrack of older songs by various artists so that the producers had a song to compete in the Best Song from a Motion Picture category at the Academy Awards. She commented that the growing trend saddened her heart and that she had been taught to dress respectfully for her audiences.
A glossy program was available and the show featured pre-produced animation on large on-stage screens. The tour was promoted by an appearance on the TV program Later In April she portrayed a singer in an episode of JAG. Knight has also made a number of television cameo appearances, including Las Vegas and 30 Rock.
In , she began a recurring role in the syndicated sitcom The First Family. Knight's son Shanga Hankerson owns a chain of chicken and waffles restaurants based in Atlanta, bearing her name. One location was featured on the Travel Channel original series Man v. WSB-TV reported that Shanga is at the center of an investigation involving unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. At years-old she became pregnant and married Atlanta musician James "Jimmy" Newman in Newman became a drug addict and abandoned the family when Knight was In , after having her only daughter, Kenya, Knight returned to recording with the Pips in order to support her family.
She also resided on LaSalle Avenue for a time. Her children attended Gesu Catholic Grade School. After being separated seven years, Knight divorced Newman in ,  he died only a few years later. Around , they relocated to Atlanta. The Pips, however, remained in Detroit. The couple had one son, Shanga Hankerson. Their marriage ended in with a prolonged custody battle over their son.
Knight suffered through a gambling addiction that lasted more than a decade. Hinckley , that his flock needed to inject some "pep" into their music. One year before, Knight had received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.