Gladys Knight and the Pips came to Motown as an established group that had performed together since the 1950s.
A family affair, the group also included Gladys’ 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.
Like other Motown acts, the Pips benefited from the company’s Artist Development Program. They were noted for their
intricate, quickstep routines, which were designed by famous choreographer Cholly Atkins, as well as for their tight
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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 and reached #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