Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Gladys

Irish rockers U2  will be saluted at the 45th annual Kennedy Center Honors gala. The ceremony will be held December 4 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

Also set to be honored are actor/filmmaker George Clooney, Christian music artist Amy Grant, Cuban-born American composer and conductor Tania León, and R & B legend Gladys Knight.

The awards are presented annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to people who have made lasting contributions to American culture through performing arts.

Knight said she’s “humbled beyond words” to be recognized alongside the other honorees, adding, “I stand here with my fans, my family, my friends, my team, and my faith in accepting such an amazing distinction. It is dedicated to all those who paved the path for me to be able to accomplish the wonderful blessings I’ve been able to receive.”

Marvin Gaye had a big hit with this song, but Gladys Knight & the Pips did it first in 1967.

That version of a soul classic has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

During her stardom Knight often performed shows in casinos where she found herself playing blackjack or baccarat.

“I got into gambling when I was playing a casino,” she told the LA Times.

“I was a hermit in those days. I would go onstage, go to my room, or if we had to travel, I’d get in a car or a plane, whatever. But I didn’t do anything. One day, this friend of mine said, ‘Do you want to play some blackjack? ’So I started playing, and I enjoyed it. I started spending my time doing that. And you’re talking about a dollar table. (But) I remember when I graduated up to $20. And when my kids got in college – I’m telling you the real deal – I had gone through a nasty divorce, I spent over a million dollars looking for my son after he got kidnapped. And I was broke.”

From her autobiography:

“The pit bosses and dealers became my family. I felt protected. I played behind red velvet ropes that protected me from autograph seekers, thieves, and scam artists. They brought food and drinks right to me, at no charge.

“I would play, and I would win. And you should never win. Winning is how they get you. Because you think you’ll win everything, and you won’t. And I just woke up one day and said this don’t make no sense. I had gotten $2,000. And within 25, 30 minutes, I had won 60 grand.

“And I sat right at that table and gave every dime of it back. And I just got sick at the table. And I got up, went to the phone and called Gamblers Anonymous. And the lady on the phone said, ‘Where are you? We’ll come get you.’ And I went to one meeting. That was all I had to go to.”

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