Is Gladys Knight Still Bitter With Stevie Wonder?!!
Gladys Knight had some friction with her friend, Stevie Wonder, back in the day and she was so mad at him that she almost stopped speaking to him. But could there be an even bigger feud with Aretha Franklin? Gladys revealed that she was once bitter because Stevie Wonder didn’t ask her to record “Until You Come Back To Me” after she spent hours perfecting the classic song for him. Knight sang the song for Wonder as he was writing it on the road while. Then he gave it to Aretha Franklin. Knight recalls that back in the 60s, “Stevie and I were on tour together and he used to make me come and sing every day after the show. I would say, ‘Stevie, we just got done with a show and we’ve got four more to do this week but he would be like, ‘Oh, come on, Gladys. Just sing this part.” Months later, Gladys was on fire when she heard the song on the radio: “I hear Aretha Franklin singing, I’m gonna rap on your door…’I said, ‘You’ve got to be out of your mind. What happened to my song?’ “Every time I would see Stevie, I would tell him…Nobody talks about that song.” And although they weren’t really feuding verbally or physically with each other, it’s been said that Aretha sometimes ignored Gladys whenever they were in the same space. Word on the Old School curb is that when Gladys & the Pips lived in Detroit, they were very sociable in their off-time. They’d throw small gatherings and invite people. Aretha was invited, but according to Gladys she was a no-show. Gladys wrote about some shade Aretha threw her way, in her biography. It was about Aretha not speaking to her, nor Bubba when they approached Aretha some place. And Gladys told Bubba she suspected that Aretha didn’t like her for some reason. Perhaps Aretha heard the comment and may still have some bitterness over that Stevie Wonder song. On the other hand, Aretha’s ex, Ted White, was friendly with Gladys and the Pips when they all lived in Detroit. Ted and Aretha were going through a divorce around 1969 and everyone was backstage minus the Queen, but some thought things got really strained when critics & writers began saying Gladys was one of Aretha’s closest competitors for the queen of soul thing. According to Gladys, when they first met as teenagers, Gladys went over to Aretha, welcomed her to Atlanta, and held out her hand for a shake. She said Aretha looked at her as if she had dropped out of a spaceship, and turned her back without speaking. Wow! Since then, Gladys says there have been times when they have been friendly. Yet there are other times when their relationship goes into the deep freeze. Many say that Aretha deserves a pass for her treatment of certain artists, because it’s just a reflection of her competitiveness and her territorial ways. She takes her Queen title seriously and doesn’t seem to like it much when others come into her area, like Gladys or Natalie Cole. Motown even called Gladys ‘LADY KNIGHT’ in the liner notes on one of her early Motown albums, surely trying to emulate Aretha’s title LADY SOUL, but I guess it’s safe to assume that didn’t sit too well with ‘ReRe’. The last time any of us heard either Gladys or Aretha speak about any feud was back in the late 90s in their respective autobiographies. In her book, Aretha mentioned her displeasure at some comments that Gladys and Cissy Houston had made about her mother. But since then, Aretha did include a photo of Gladys (and Les Brown) in her 2003 tour book and she sand covered Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train To Georgia” on her new album, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics, which released on October 21st 2014. Aretha and Cissy are still very close and Cissy sometimes sings background for Aretha. Stevie and Gladys have worked together many times after that whole “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” mishap. So maybe things are looking up, but golly…it seems like it was a rough road to get there. Wow Stevie, guess you should have given that song to Gladys and maybe all this drama wouldn’t have happened with Aretha and Gladys…but then again I take that back. Although we LOVE Gladys and we’re certain she would have done a flawless job with that song, it’s just hard to imagine anyone else singing “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” besides Aretha.
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