After Verzuz’s rousing reception for its Brandy and Monica showdown, the Internet’s favorite friendly music competition will host another pair of R&B superstars, undisputed legends Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle for a clash Sunday (Sept. 13). the 2 vocal powerhouses, who began their commercial music careers within the early 1960s, will likely curate their 20-song set lists from throughout their storied careers, both from their solo eras and because the frontwomen of their respective R&B groups.
Ahead of the competition , Billboard runs down the highlights of both women’s chart careers, lined with the most important hits likely to populate each singer’s setlist.
Seniority first gives priority to Knight, who first reached Billboard’s charts in 1961 because the lead singer of Gladys Knight and therefore the Pips. That year, “Every Beat of My Heart” introduced the group to national audiences because the song rose to No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 that June. Knight and therefore the Pips’ next release, however, kick-started their real run of success, as “Letter filled with Tears” cracked the highest 40 with a No. 19 showing and soared to No. 3 on Hot R&B Singles (today’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart).
“Tears” marked the primary of 30 R&B top 10s for the group, a set that has a number of its best-known classics like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” a six-week champ in 1967; “Neither one among Us (Wants to Be the primary to mention Goodbye),” a four-week leader in 1973; and maybe the act’s most famous single, “Midnight Train to Georgia,” which topped the chart for four weeks, additionally to becoming its only No. 1 on the recent 100.
Unlike most of the first era soul groups, the Pips endured well into the ’80s, topping the R&B charts with 1988’s “Love Overboard,” quite 25 years after their arrival. Shortly after, Knight went solo and added two more R&B top 10s: “Men” (No. 2, 1991) and “Missing You,” a collaboration with Brandy, Tamia, and Chaka Khan from the Set It Off soundtrack (No. 10, 1996).
Let’s distill that massive roster of hits into Gladys Knight’s 10 biggest hits on the recent R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (solo and with The Pips), many of which seem likely to form an appearance on Sunday’s showdown.
1. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” No. 1 (six weeks), Dec. 2, 1967
2. “Midnight Train to Georgia,” No. 1 (four weeks), Oct. 20, 1973
3. “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye),” No. 1 (four weeks), March 17, 1973
4. “Love Overboard,” No. 1 (one week), Jan. 23, 1988
5. “If I Were Your Woman,” No. 1 (one week), Jan. 23, 1971
6. “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” No. 1 (two weeks), April 6, 1974
7. “Save the Overtime (for Me),” No. 1 (one week), May 28, 1983
8. “On and On,” No. 2, June 22, 1974
9. “I Feel a Song (In My Heart),” No. 1 (two weeks), Nov. 30, 1974
10. “Men,” No. 2, Aug. 17, 1991
On to Patti LaBelle, who, like Knight, began her career because the lead vocalist of a gaggle — Patti LaBelle and therefore the Blue Belles. The Philadelphia quartet made its Billboard arrival in 1963 with “Down the Aisle (Wedding Song).” The track hit No. 14 on Hot R&B Singles and crossed into the recent 100’s top 40 (No. 37).
The Blue Belles, with LaBelle ahead , notched further R&B hits amid a series of lineup shifts, including the loss of founding member Cindy Birdsong to The Supremes within the mid-’60s. The group settled under a replacement name, LaBelle, within the ’70s, just in time for its biggest hit, “Lady Marmalade,” which shot to No. 1 on both the recent 100 and R&B rankings in 1975.
Despite that smash, the group split the subsequent year. Its former leader, now solo, struggled to match the group’s successes initially, but began a robust run within the ’80s that crested within the middle of the last decade with the R&B No. 1s “If you simply Knew” (four weeks, 1984), “On my very own ,” a duet with Michael McDonald (four weeks, 1986), and 7 more top 10s, including “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up.”
As with Knight, LaBelle maintained her hitmaking ability into the ’90s with such hits as “Somebody Loves You Baby” and “The Right Kinda Lover,” quite 30 years into her career.
1. “On My Own,” with Michael McDonald, No. 1 (four weeks), May 17, 1986
2. “If You Only Knew,” No. 1 (four weeks), Jan. 28, 1984
3. “Feels Like Another One,” No. 3, Nov. 30, 1991
4. “Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is),” No. 2, March 28, 1992
5. “Love Has Finally Come at Last,” with Bobby Womack, No. 3, April 7, 1984
6. “Lady Marmalade,” No. 1 (one week), Feb. 22, 1975
7. “When You’ve Been Blessed (Feels Like Heaven),” No. 4, July 4, 1992
8. “Yo Mister,” No. 6, Dec. 16, 1989
9. “New Attitude,” No. 3, March 30, 1985
10. “The Right Kinda Lover,” No. 8, July 23, 1994
Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle’s Biggest Billboard Hits are based on actual performance on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, through Sept. 12, 2020. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower ranks earning lesser values. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, certain eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.
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