Knight, Merald


"In 1952 the family music group was born during a child's birthday celebration at the Knight home. Joining an impromptu performance with Knight were her older brother, Merald 'Bubba'; her sister, Brenda; and two cousins, Elenor and William Guest. From these humble beginnings, the Pips emerged--the name was taken from the nickname of a cousin ("Pip") who encouraged the youngsters to become professionals. After the departure of Brenda and Elenor, cousin Edward Patten filled out the family quartet during the group's heyday. By 1957 Gladys Knight and the Pips were touring nationally on the 'Chitlin' Circuit,' playing exclusively to black audiences in clubs and theaters throughout the segregated South. During these tours they performed as the opening act for some of the biggest names in rhythm and blues--Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, and B. B. King. In 1961 the group scored their first rhythm-and-blues (R&B) top twenty hit with 'Every Beat of My Heart.'" - "Gladys Knight." New Georgia Encyclopedia. (Retrieved May 4, 2009)

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