Gladys Knight

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{caption}Seven-time Grammy Award winner Gladys Knight will play an Omaha show on Saturday at the Holland Performing Arts Center.{/caption}

{standaloneHead}Gladys Knight{/standaloneHead}

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Gladys Knight is coming to Omaha.

On Saturday, the legendary soul singer will play an evening of music at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Though you likely know songs such as “Midnight Train to Georgia,” you might not know about her family, her trouble with Motown Week or her big song’s connection to Farrah Fawcett.

1. Farrah Fawcett was inspiration for the 1973 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Songwriter Jim Weatherly placed a phone call to friend Lee Majors, only to have the actor’s girlfriend, Fawcett, answer the phone. She told Weatherly she was packing for “a midnight plane to Houston.” The phrase stuck with Weatherly, who wrote “Midnight Plane to Houston” in about 30 minutes. It was later changed to “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and it became Knight’s first No. 1 hit and earned a Grammy. Weatherly recently related the story to Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger columnist Billy Watkins. Rolling Stone named it among its list of the top 500 songs of all time.

2. Gladys Knight wasn’t the first artist to record “Heard it Through the Grapevine.” Knight was the third Motown act to try the song, but hers was the first to be released. It was a hit, going all the way to No. 2. The first cracks at the song were by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Marvin Gaye. Gaye’s version was initially shelved, but it later became a huge hit.

3. Gladys Knight & the Pips were a family affair. The Pips began as Gladys and siblings, Merald “Bubba” Knight and Brenda Knight and cousins Eleanor and William Guest. Another cousin, Edward Patten, later joined the group. Gladys Knight & the Pips performed together until 1989.

4. The Empress of Soul has many, many, many accolades. Knight has two overall No. 1 singles (“Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For”), but she topped the R&B chart 11 times and has seven Grammy Awards. Knight is No. 51 on Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest singers of all time, and along with the Pips, Knight was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

5. Glady Knight couldn’t survive Motown Week. In 2012, Gladys Knight was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars.” The singer was 67 during the show’s 14th season, and she made it through the first four rounds. The fifth round was declared Motown Week, and Knight and dancing partner Tristan MacManus were eliminated.

Reporter - Entertainment/music/concert

Kevin Coffey is the entertainment editor and critic, covering music, movies, video games, comic books and lots more. Follow him on Twitter @owhmusicguy. Phone: 402-444-1557.

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