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Singer Gladys Knight has given voice to multiple R&B hits (with and without her Pips), including "Midnight Train to Georgia."
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1 soul hit.
Knight and the Pips hosted their own TV special in the summer of 1975, and in 1976, Knight made an appearance in the film Pipe Dreams, for which she and the Pips also recorded the soundtrack album. She later co-starred opposite comedian Flip Wilson on the 1985-86 sitcom Charlie & Co. Due to legal problems with Buddah, Knight and the Pips were forced to record separately in the last years of the 1970s,
although they continued performing together in live gigs. After signing a new contract with Columbia, the group released three reunion albums during the early 1980s, About Love (1980), Touch (1982) and Visions (1983), scoring hits with such singles as "Landlord" (produced by the ace songwriting team Ashford and Simpson), "Save the Overtime for Me" and "You're Number One".
Moving to MCA Records in 1988, Knight and the Pips released their final album together, All Our Love, which included the Grammy-winning single "Love Overboard." The next year, Knight left the Pips to launch a solo career, recording the title song for the James Bond film Licence to Kill (1989) and the album A Good Woman (1990), which featured guest stars Dionne Warwick and Patti Labelle.
Throughout the 1990s, Knight continued to tour and record, producing the successful 1994 album Just For You and earning acclaim for her consistently strong vocals and hardworking performance style. In addition to her musical career, she also acted in a recurring role on the 1994 TV series New York Undercover. Knight has also appeared on Living Single and JAG. On the big screen, she had a role in Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself in 2009.
While no longer a chart-topping success, Knight, known fondly today as the "Empress of Soul," has continued to make records. She once stated, "Since I've been so wonderfully blessed, I really want to share and to make life at least a little better. So every chance I get to share the gospel or uplift people, I will take full advantage of that opportunity." Knight collaborated with the the Saints United Voices for her 2005 gospel album One Voice, which did well. Knight's 2006 album Before Me also received a warm reception.
In 2012, Knight decided to take on another kind of role by joining the cast of Dancing with the Stars, the popular television competition, and strutting her stuff against the likes of actress Melissa Gilbert, actor Jaleel White and TV personality Sherri Shepherd.
Knight married her first husband, an Atlanta musician named Jimmy Newman, at age 16. The marriage produced two children, James and Kenya, before Newman, a drug addict, abandoned the family and died only a few years later. Her second marriage, to Barry Hankerson, ended acrimoniously in 1979 after five years in a prolonged custody battle over their son, Shanga. Knight married author and motivational speaker Les Brown in 1995; that marriage ended in 1997.
In addition to a tumultuous love life, Knight suffered through a serious gambling problem that lasted more than a decade.
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