Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

August 19, 2013

Legendary R&B acts taking the Artpark stage this week

The Tuesday in the Park series has typically featured rock acts, but this week the series features a double bill of legendary R&B acts, both are inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a performance from “The Empress of Soul,” Gladys Knight, who began her career in the late 1950s as Gladys Knight and the Pips, who recorded several hit singles for the legendary Motown record label, including “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

The group was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1996 and later inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. In addition they won seven American Music Awards and three Grammy Awards.

Knight embarked on a solo career in the late 1980s and continued her success, winning a Grammy in 1989 for her part in the single “That’s What Friends are For” a single recorded with Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder.

Knights other solo recordings have fared well, garnering Knight four Grammy Awards as a solo performer and one gold-selling album. She has also authored two books and made several guest appearances on television.

The O’Jays formed in Canton, Ohio, in 1958. They first saw national success in 1963 with the single “Lonely Drifter.”

The group was one of many that worked with the legendary songwriting and production team headed by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff who are generally credited with the rise of the “Philly Soul” sound. The duo, known simply as Gamble and Huff, were central figures of the Philadelphia International Records label. The pair produced seven O’Jay’s albums.

Their first million selling single was “Back Stabbers,” their most popular single is “Love Train.”

Their song “For the Love of Money,” has been used as the theme for “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice.” The famous bass line in the song is the result of a Fender Precision Bass being run through a wah-wah peddle and a phaser. The song was nominated for a Grammy but lost to “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus.

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