Gladys Knight's 10 greatest songs ever, ranked

2 February 2022, 11:50

Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Gladys Knight is known as the ‘Empress of Soul’, and for good reason.

She is a four-time Grammy Award-winner, and is best known for the songs she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s and beyond, both as a solo artist and with her group Gladys Knight and the Pips.

To celebrate Gladys' amazing career, we've picked just a handful of her very best.

  1. Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)

    Released in 1973 from the album Neither One of Us, this song spent four weeks at number one on the US Soul Singles chart.

    It peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was one of the group's last hits with Motown before leaving for Buddah Records.

    It also won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, so a huge success all round!

  2. Love Overboard

    This 1987 track was a Grammy Award-winning single, and was the first Top 40 hit for Gladys' group in over a decade, and also their final Pop Top 40 release.

  3. I've Got to Use My Imagination

    From their album Imagination, this Pips song was a top 5 hit for the group in 1973.

    The song has been covered by various artists including Joan Osborne, Bobby Bland, and Joe Cocker.

  4. The Way We Were

    Originally a ballad by Barbra Streisand, Gladys and the Pips did this surprising cover version in 1975.

    Their version also included a mashup of sorts with the song 'Try to Remember', and features a spoken monologue from Gladys.

  5. On and On

    Written and produced by soul legend Curtis Mayfield, this song was another top 5 hit for the Pips, in 1974, for the film Claudine.

    The song was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1974, but lost to 'I Feel Love' by Charlie Rich.

  6. Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

    Gladys Knight & The Pips’ cover of Ray Price's song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot Soul Singles for two weeks.

    It was later certified gold by the RIAA for sales of one million copies, and reached the top 10 in the UK. And it's a soul classic!

  7. I Heard it through the Grapevine

    Originally recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles in 1966, that version was rejected by Motown owner Berry Gordy, who told writers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong to make it stronger.

    After recording the song with Marvin Gaye in 1967, which Gordy also rejected, Whitfield produced a version with Gladys Knight & the Pips, which Gordy agreed to release as a single in September 1967.

    However, Marvin later went on to release the most famous version on his own.

  8. If I Were Your Woman

    Co-written by fellow soul singer Gloria Jones, this song was a top 10 hit for the Pips in 1971 in the US.

    Alicia Keys later recorded a brilliant cover version as a mashup with Dionne Warwick's 'Walk on By' for her second album in 2003.

  9. Licence to Kill

    Former Motown singer Gladys was selected to sing the theme tune to Timothy Dalton’s second and final James Bond movie of the same name.

    Vic Flick, who had played lead guitar on Monty Norman’s original 007 theme, and Eric Clapton were asked to write and perform the theme song, and they produced a theme to match Dalton’s performance, but the producers turned it down.

  10. Midnight Train to Georgia

    This was a number one hit single for Gladys Knight & the Pips, and won them the 1974 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus.

    It has since become Knight's signature song, and gave her one of her biggest hits in the UK.