Gladys Knight & The Pips

 

Our Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight, has captured my heart in so many ways! Let me tell you why…

History:

Gladys Knight was born on May 28th, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. She began singing at a very young age by 8 years old, her and her siblings, later called Gladys Knight and the Pips. At 4 years old, Gladys made her first solo debut at the Mount Baptist Church in Atlanta. By the 1960’s she and the Pips had begun opening for popular acts such as Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. Their first single was with Brunswick Records, “Whistle My Love” in 1957 by Brunswick Records. They ended up signing with Motown Records in the 1960’s and collaborating with the songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield. However, in 1973, Gladys and the Pips, left Motown Records because of unpaid royalties which the band did take Motown Records to court for.

“Darkness all around me

Blockin’ out the sun

Old friends call me

But I just don’t feel like talkin’ to anyone

Emptiness has found me

And it just won’t let me go

I go right on livin’”

 “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” Recorded in 1973, written by Barry Goldberg and Gerry Goffin.

I absolutely love how upbeat and positive this song. “I’ve got to make the best out of a bad situation” not many people have that kind of perspective, especially when it comes to romance and moving on. I truly think the songwriters have done a really well job portraying what it’s like to feel hopeless yet there is a strong sense of self-love and kindness.

Yeah

Life is so crazy

And love is unkind

Because she came first darling

Will she hang on your mind

You’re a part of me

And you don’t even know it

I’m what you need

But I’m too afraid to show it

If I were your woman

If you were my woman…

“If I Were Your Woman” by Clarence McMurray, Pamela Sawyer, and Gloria Jones.

Once again these lyrics are incredible. I truly love how she riffs and sounds as if she’s singing truly from her heart, her intentions are very clear when she lands on specific vowels (I = the sound of ah) a natural human response to pain and longing. These lyrics could have been sung by any other artist, but would I have had the same emotional attachment and tone? Probably not, which is the very beautiful part about being your own artist with your own voice. Instrumentals, vocals, and lyrics can be interpreted differently and can create a specific and vivid experience that can last with a listener forever.

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