The Singer: Hailing from Atlanta, Gladys Knight fronted her brother and two cousins in the Pips from 1953 to the late '80s, though the best-known incarnation of the Pips recorded between 1967 and 1975. The quartet recorded for Motown in the '60s but found greater fame on the Buddha label, which released "Midnight Train to Georgia" in 1973.
The Song: "Midnight Train" is a little more gritty and Stax-y than most slow jams we've featured here, but the soul and sentiment comes through. When Gladys sings "I'd rather live in his world than be without him in mine," it basically condenses every love song down to one line. More notable, though, is the back-up vocals by the Pips: rather than simply echo the lead singer's lines in harmony (like most back-up groups did), the all-male Pips provide a Greek Chorus for Gladys. It's an elegant solution to a tricky gender issue.