Gladys Knight and the Pips were already an experienced act prior to arriving at Motown. They had the skills to make it big but were unlucky at previous labels.
They began performing when Gladys was only 13 years old. The Pips; Gladys' older brother, Merald "Bubba" Knight and cousins, Edward Patten and William Guest, backed Gladys; they had their first major hit in 1961 entitled "Every Beat of My Heart".
Following another hit in "Letter Full Of Tears", Gladys and the Pips signed with Motown and released 11 hits in 6 years. The collaboration with the Funk Brothers made them consistent hitmakers. Their sound, built around Gladys' gospel roots and dramatic soul with lush harmonies from the Pips, perfectly illustrated in their 1967 smash, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"; would later transform into richly soulful ballads as illustrated in their hits "I Don't Want To Do Wrong", "If I Were Your Woman" and "Neither One of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)".
Gladys Knight and the Pips, were and are also known for their choreography; it was precise, exciting and well timed to highlight the lyrics.
By 1973, they had left Motown and later recorded a string of number one R&B hits. In 1976, Gladys starred in and she, along with the Pips, also provided the songs for the soundtrack of the movie, Pipe Dreams.