Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Gladys Knight

I can remember being 12 or 13 and hearing 'Midnight Train To Georgia', from that point on I fell in love with the soul music of the 60's and 70's and a love affair with Ms. Knight began. I pushed repeat on the stereo and listened to 'Midnight Train To Georgia' over and over again. At times, I pretended to be on stage with Gladys performing as one of the Pips. It would be years later, when I heard Gladys Knight & The Pips sing the Curtis Mayfield penned 'To Be Invisible.' I've heard the version recorded by Curtis, but there is something special about Gladys Knight's reading of the song. The song was off the Claudine album, the soundtrack to the 1974 movie of the same name. The film tells the story of a black Harlem woman, living on welfare, struggling to raise six children who falls in love with a garbage man. Gladys, a world away from poverty, was able to sing with the conviction of a woman just trying to make it through another day. 'To Be Invisible' spoke of a person who felt it was better to be invisible in a world that was so mean. "A world that seems not for privately, I'll be invisible..that way I won't have to explain a thing, if you know what I mean.. I won't even have to be here on the scene..." I'm glad Gladys didn't grow up feeling inferior. It would be understandable if she did. Gladys was able to find her way in a world that was so mean and for over 50 years she has blessed us with her music. We all got up and danced when she sang 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' and we contemplated saying goodbye when we heard 'Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye.)' 'I Don't Wanna Do Wrong' and 'Make Me The Woman That You Go Home To' made us wonder if Gladys was going through the problems she was singing about but she let us know everything was alright when she sang ' The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me.'

Happy 64th Birthday, Gladys Knight!