Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gladys Knight and the Pips: Everybody Needs Love/ If I Was Your Woman

Back in 1977, Richard Pryor hosted his own comedy-variety show on NBC. It only lasted for four episodes, in large part because it was up against Happy Days (or maybe it was Laverne and Shirley). And it even if it hadn't been, it's kind of doubtful Pryor would have wanted to do it for much longer since he wasn't too crazy about NBC's censors. Anyway, on one of the shows, the skit has the Pips singing backup sans Gladys Knight - i.e., the joke is that you have this silence in between brief bits of harmonizing by the Pips. And no, the execution wasn't much funnier than it sounds. :)

I invoke this brief moment of popular culture only because I think that Gladys Knight probably would be remembered more fondly if her backing band hadn't been named the Pips. No offense to any of the Pips (who were good backup singers), but the name, well, I just think it ultimately diminished her status as a soul singer. Which is too bad, because as you can hear from the two out of print albums posted (it was a twofer cd put out by Motown in the early years of cds before they realized they could sell their old stuff as single albums), she has a darn fine emotive style.

Everybody Needs Love
I'll Be Standing By
Since I've Lost You
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
You Don't Love Me No More
Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone
Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me
He's My Kind Of Fellow
Yes, I'm Ready
My Bed Of Thorns
Do You Love Me Just A Little Honey
Just Walk In My Shoes
If I Were Your Woman
Feeling Alright
One Less Bell To Answer
Let It Be
I Don't Want To Do Wrong
One Step Away
Here I Am Again
How Can You Say That Ain't Love
Is There A Place (In His Heart For Me)
Everybody Is A Star
Signed Gladys
Your Love's Been Good For Me


Anonymous said...

I love GK, and have always wondered why she's not as acclaimed as I think she should be. Interesting theory about the name... maybe you're onto something there. ("Gladys" can't have helped either)
But I think the main problem was too much mediocre material and the sappy arrangements/orchestration on many of her albums.

Ishkabibliophile said...


You're probably right that it was more about the material and the fact that she never really made a true standout album.