Photo by Greg Allen, Invision, Associated Press
Seven-time Grammy Award®-winner and Motown alumna, Gladys Knight, has been recognized for her lifetime artistic achievements at the 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture, The Kennedy Center Honors have been presented annually since 1978, culminating each December in a gala celebrating five honorees in the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.
“I’m humbled beyond words to be included amongst this prestigious group of individuals, both past and present. You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honored on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these—it just wouldn’t have seemed possible. It would have been the dream of all dreams. I have been blessed with so much in my life and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list. To be honored as a Kennedy Center Honoree is among the highlights of my career. I stand here with my fans, my family, my friends, my team, and my faith in accepting such an amazing distinction. It is dedicated to all those who paved the path for me to be able to accomplish the wonderful blessings I’ve been able to receive. The Kennedy Center’s commitment to the arts is unparalleled and I am so very grateful for this moment.”
Gladys Knight and The Pips came to Motown as an established group that had performed together since the 1950s. A family affair, the group included Gladys and her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight and cousins William Guest and Edward Patten. While Gladys Knight and The Pips had scored hits for other companies, the group really took off when they signed with Motown Records in 1966.
Their first big Motown hit, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” was released in 1967. The single, which was produced by Norman Whitfield, sold 2.5 million records, reaching #1 on the R&B charts and #2 on the pop charts. Under Whitfield’s guidance, the group released more chart-topping singles over their remaining six years with Motown, including “The Nitty Gritty” in 1968 and another #1 R&B hit in 1970, the unforgettable “If I Were Your Woman.”
Gladys Knight and The Pips won a Grammy Award in 1973 for their single, “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).”
Back to blog home