Tonight at the Koger Center,the Auntie Karen Foundation will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its “Legends Of...” concert series with a performance by Gladys Knight. The concert benefits the foundation, which organizes outreach programs through arts education.
Knight, who as a teenager in the ’60s became the lead singer of Gladys Knight & the Pips, has had an illustrious career. For a concert that celebrates the legends of music, it’s hard to get more legendary than this.
The hits: Most will immediately recall the indelible “Midnight Train to Georgia,” but the Georgia native’s catalog is filled with memorable songs such as “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” first recorded by Marvin Gaye but released a year after the version by Knight & the Pips’; “If I Were Your Woman”; “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)”; and “You’re the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me.”
Soul empire: James Brown is unquestionably the Godfather of Soul, but he doesn’t own all of soul music’s territory. Knight, who had a Las Vegas theater — Gladys Knight Theater in the Tropicana Las Vegas — renamed in her honor in 2011, is known as the Empress of Soul. She has won seven Grammy Awards. And she was on “Dancing With the Stars.”
The line: If the younger generations of pop stars — from Gwen Stefani to Beyonce to Britney Spears — can sell their own clothing lines and fragrances, why can’t someone who was a star before they were born? Knight sells earrings, necklaces and bracelets as part of her Gladys Knight Jewelry Collection.
The meaning of friends: In 1985, “That’s What Friends are For,” recorded as a benefit for American Foundation for AIDS Research, reached No. 1. The song, released by Dionne Warwick and Friends, featured Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Knight and Warwick. (It’s OK if it’s stuck in your head now. Ask someone to sing it with you, because, that’s what friends are for.)
Hall of Fame: In 1995 Knight got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1996, Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.