Classicrockhistory.com presents the Top 10 Gladys Knight & The Pips Songs. The family based group first formed in the early 1950s and eventually released a handful of singles that did not do to too well commercially. After changing their name from the Pips to Gladys Knight & The Pips, the group signed with Motown Records in 1967. Their first hit was a huge one for the group and the Motown label with the song “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” From that point on, Gladys Knight & The Pips would celebrate a very successful recording career that earned the group ten Grammy Award nominations and three Grammy Awards. Between 1962 and 1987, the group released twenty four studio albums. Gladys Knight & The Pips released over fifty singles with many of them breaking the Billboard top 40, top 10 and even hitting number one with “Midnight Train To Georgia.” The group was also constantly hitting the top three spots on the Billboard Soul Charts.
# 10 – Every Beat Of My Heart
We open up our Top 10 Gladys Knight & The Pips Songs list with the classic track “Every Beat Of My Heart.” The song was released as the groups first single in 1961 on Vee Jay Records. The song proved to be very successful for the group as it broke the Billboard Top 10 peaking at number six. The song was written by Johnny Otis. The song was a product of the times fueled by the classic doo wop chord progression and feel. However, it was Gladys Knight & The Pip vocals that made it sound incredibly fresh in 1961.
# 9 – Love Overboard
We jump from 1961 to 1987 with our presentation of the great Gladys Knight & The Pips Song “Love Overboard.” The song served as the last top 20 hit by the group of their career. A great song that was very reflective of the style of 1980s R&B in the same way the first song On this list was a product of the late 50s and early 1960s era. The song “Love Overboard,” also won a Grammy Award in 1988 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
# 8 – License To Kill
There have been many great James Bond Main Theme songs over the years. Carly Simon delivered a great one with “Nobody Does It Better,” Shirly Manson of Garbage recorded a very underrated one with “The World Is Not Enough,” and of course their is the classic Shirley Bassey “Goldfinger,” recording. Gladys Knight joined the club with her amazing vocals on the theme for the James Bond Move License To Kill’s main theme song.
# 7 -Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
Gladys Knight & The Pips had many top 10 hits in the early 1970s. The group had found much success with mid tempo ballads filled with soul that cut across the genres of pop and adult contemporary. Theses were songs that were so well written, they became new standards. “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” was a song written by Jim Weatherly. Gladys Knight & The Pips had a top 10 hit with “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” as the song peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 100.
# 6 – The Nitty Gritty
While there are a lot of music fans that associate Gladys Knight & The Pips with those classic crooning ballads, the fact is the group cut many great funky R&B tracks that stood with the best of the other Motown artists. The track “The Nitty Gritty,” is a perfect example. The song was written in 1963 by Lincoln Chase. Gladys Knight & The Pips released their version in 1969. The song broke the Billboard Top 20. The Supremes also recorded a version of the song.
# 5 – On and On
Entering the second half of our top 10 Gladys Knight & The Pips songs list we turn to the grooving song “On and On.” The song was released on the soundtrack to the motion picture Claudine. The song was written by Curtis Mayfield. “On and On,” became a bug hit for Gladys Knight & The Pips. The song was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 reaching all the way up to number five. It also hit number two on the Billboard R&B Charts in 1974.
# 4 – Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)
Well speaking of ballads….. This classic song “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye),” was a pretty big hit for Gladys Knight & The Pips. The song was released in 1973 while the group was still on Motown Records. The song won a Grammy Award in 1973 for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus. The song was also a huge commercial success hitting number one on many music charts including the U.S. Cash Box Top 100, The U.S. Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles and the Record World Sings charts. It hit number two in the Billboard Hot 100.
# 3 – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
While everyone loved the classic Creedence Clearwater Revival version of this song as well as the Marvin Gaye version. However the first version of this song was released by Gladys Knights & The Pips in 1967. This great Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong penned song was a huge hit for Gladys Knights & The Pips. The song went all the way to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It would become on of the most memorable songs of the 1960s.
# 2 – I’ve Got to Use My Imagination
This is what Dee Lite meant when they sang the song “Groove Is In The Heart.” This one is pure soul and funk done with incredible class and performed brilliantly by Gladys Knights & The Pips. “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” was released by the group in 1973, The song went to number one on the Billboard Soul Singles charts and number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Gerry Goffin and Barry Goldberg
# 1 – Midnight Train To Georgia
There was no doubt about this one. Gladys Knight & The Pips song “Midnight Train To Georgia,” was the biggest hit of the groups career. It stands as their signature song. The song went straight to number on on the Billboard Hot 100 making it the groups only number one record on the Billboard Pop carts. The song also won a Grammy Award in 1974 for Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus. “Midnight Train To Georgia,” was written by Jim Weatherly.