on this day

December 24, 2015 – Singer William Guest of Gladys Knight And The Pips died of heart failure at age 74

Guest was a cousin of Gladys Knight. Initially composed of siblings and cousins (the other members included Knight’s brother Merald “Bubba” Knight and fellow cousin Edward Patten), the group formed in Atlanta in 1952 at a family party (eight-year-old Gladys Knight had already won a nationally televised talent competition). Taking their name from their first manager, cousin James “Pip” Woods, the group began performing in local churches, in Atlanta clubs, and on the chitlin circuit (venues that catered to African American audiences). By the time they signed with Motown Records in 1966, they had scored hits on other labels, and their polished stagecraft, vocal harmonies, and dance routines had inspired a number of contemporary rhythm-and-blues acts. They produced 24 Top 40 hits between 1961 and 1977. His background vocals can be heard on all of the group’s hits, including “Midnight Train To Georgia,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and the Grammy winning “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye).”
In 1989, after over three decades together, Gladys and the Pips decided to go their separate ways. Before retiring, The Pips recorded one album without Gladys, and Guest continued performing and recording as a solo artist.

December 24, 2015 – Singer William Guest of Gladys Knight And The Pips died of heart failure at age 74

Following his stint with The Pips, Guest and fellow Pip Edward Patten formed Patten and Guest Productions, and following Patten’s death in 2005, he continued to manage artists though the Crew Entertainment company he formed with members of Patten’s family. Guest was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1996, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Apollo Hall of Fame in 2006. His biography “Midnight Train From Georgia: A Pips Journey,” was released in 2013. Co-author Dhyana Ziegler, Guest’s sister-in-law said “I’m so glad we finished the book, so his wonderful life and legacy will be celebrated throughout eternity.”


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