Gladys Knight & the Pips

Midnight Train to Georgia

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For a hit record to "happen," several elements have to come together. Buddah Records executive Neil Bogart recommended producer Tony Camillo to the newly signed group Gladys Knight & the Pips, who had hits on VeeJay and Motown. Their first Buddah single, "Where Peaceful Waters Flow," was written by promising songwriter Jim Weatherly. The flowing ballad went to number six R&B and number 28 pop in summer 1973. The next Weatherly song became the group's million-selling signature song. Weatherly had recorded a country song called "Midnight Train to Houston" for Jimmy Bowen's Amos Records. He came up with the idea for the song after talking with someone about taking a midnight plane to Houston. Atlanta producer Sonny Limbo wanted to record it with singer Cissy Houston (Whitney Houston's mother). Limbo asked if he could make one change -- changing the title from "Midnight Train to Houston" to "Midnight Train to Georgia." Houston's version on Janus Records had some chart success in 1972. The songwriter's publisher sent a demo of the song to Gladys Knight & the Pips. The music was recorded at Camillo's Somerville, NJ, studio with the producer on organ and electric piano, session ace Bob Babbitt on bass, drummer Andrew Smith, and pianist Barry Miles. The group overdubbed the vocals in Detroit at Artie Fields' studio. The chugging "Midnight Train to Georgia" went gold, holding the number one R&B spot for four weeks and number one pop for two weeks in fall 1973. It won a 1973 Grammy for best R&B vocal group performance. About three years later there was a hilarious performance of the song by the Pips on NBC's The Richard Pryor Show, as the men did their "woo-woos" and other background vocals to an empty, Gladys Knight-less mic stand. Besides "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "Where Peaceful Waters Flow," the certified-gold Imagination LP included two more chart-topping gold singles -- "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" and "I've Got to Use My Imagination" -- and the radio-aired LP track "Once in a Lifetime Thing."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Gladys Knight & the Pips [Sphere] 1964 Sphere
The Very Best of Gladys Knight & the Pips [Pair] 1971 Pair
Imagination 1973 Funky Town Grooves 4:40
No Image 1974
Various Artists
Adam VIII
No Image 1980 Hallmark Recordings
21 Legendary Superstars Oldies but Goodies 1983
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 4:35
Good Old Rock and Roll, Vol. 2 1987
Various Artists
Deluxe 4:33
No Image 1989 Special Music
Greatest Hits [Curb] 1990 Curb / Capitol 4:38
The Best of Gladys Knight & the Pips [Pair] 1990 Pair 0:00
Soul Survivors: The Best of Gladys Knight & the Pips 1973-1988 1990 Rhino 4:40
History of Rock, Vol. 4 1990
Various Artists
Collectables 4:39
Soul Hits of the '70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind!, Vols. 1-15 Sampler 1991
Various Artists
Rhino 3:55
That Loving Feeling, Vol. 4 1993
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 0:00
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Hollywood / IMG 4:37
The Very Best of That Loving Feeling 1994
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 4:17
No Image 1994
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 4:38
Soul Train: Hall of Fame, 20th Anniversary 1994
Various Artists
Rhino 4:40
Hearts Desire: 18 Classic Love Songs 1995
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 4:35
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Soul [Friedman/Fairfax] 1995
Various Artists
Friedman Fairgfax 4:37
Number Ones of the 1970s: Best of Rhythm & Blues 1996
Various Artists
Richmond 4:38
Blue Lights in the Basement 1996 RCA 4:37
Georgia on My Mind, Vol. 1: Vintage Collection 1996
Various Artists
Planet Earth Recordings 4:37
It Takes Two [Columbia] 1996
Various Artists
Columbia / Global / Sony TV
MVP Classic Soul, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
MVP Records 4:35
Rock On: 1970-1974 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 4:38
No Image 1997
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 4:38
WCBS FM 101.1 25th Anniversary, Vol. 3: The 70's - Silver Anniversary Edition 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 4:34
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1972-1973 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 4:39
No Image 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 4:39
No Image 1997 Sony BMG / BMG Special Products 4:37
Best of Gladys Knight & the Pips [Right Stuff] 1998 The Right Stuff 4:57
Old School Mega Mix, Vol. 3 1998
Various Artists
Cold Front Records / K-Tel Distribution 4:37
Hits of the 70's [Columbia River] 1998
Various Artists
Valmark 4:38
Turn Back the Hands of Time: Vintage Soul 1998
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 4:41
Chart Toppers: R&B Hits of the 70s 1998
Various Artists
Priority Records
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:58
#1 Hits of 1970-1974 1998
Various Artists
GNP / Crescendo 4:38
No Image 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Soul of a Woman 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:27
Esquire Soul Classics 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:35
Solid Gold Soul: Rhythm & Grooves 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time / Life Music 4:39
Rock On: From 1970 to 1979 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 4:41
Whole Lotta Soul 1972-1973 1999
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 4:40
Collector's Edition, Vol. 1 1999 Platinum Disc 4:34
The Millennium's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Collectables 4:37
Soul [Book & CD] 1999
Various Artists
Friedman Fairgfax 4:37
More Broken Hearted Soul Essentials 1999
Various Artists
Polygram 3:44
The Ultimate Grammy Box: From the Recording Academy's Collection 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:37
Sounds of the 70's [Global TV] 1999
Various Artists
Global TV 4:20
The Millennium's Greatest Hits, Vols. 1-2 2000
Various Artists
Collectables 4:35
Soul Train: The Dance Years 1973 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:55
VH1 Behind the Music: The Gladys Knight and the Pips Collection 2000 Buddha Records 4:41
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 4:40
No Image 2000
Various Artists
King 4:33
'70s Rock Hits 2001
Various Artists
Compose Records 3:42
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 4:38
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: Great Soul Ballads 2001
Various Artists
Goldies 4:39
Say It Loud! A Celebration of Black Music in America [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 4:40
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 4:40
Can You Dig It? The '70s Soul Experience 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:57
A Year in Your Life: 1973, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 4:39
Soul Spectacular! The Greatest Soul Hits of All Time 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 3:57
Lady Sings the Blues [EMI] 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:33
Black & Proud 2002
Various Artists
Golden Stars 4:39
Great Ladies of Rock & Roll: The '70s 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 4:40
Best of Soul Let's Get It On 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:42
I Can See Clearly Now 2003 BCI-Eclipse Distribution 4:37
The Incredible Soul Collection 2003
Various Artists
Rhino 3:57
Platinum & Gold Collection 2003 BMG Heritage / Buddha Records 4:39
Women & Songs: Beginnings 2003
Various Artists
WEA International 4:40
Superstars of Seventies Soul 2004
Various Artists
Shout! Factory / Sony Music Distribution 3:19
No Image 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 4:38
Best of Lady Sings the Blues 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:32
Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 2004
Various Artists
Collectables 4:35
Love Songs 2005 BMG / Ariola 4:43
Peabo Bryson Presents Classic Soul Ballads 2005
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 0:00
Soul Legends 2006 MSI Music Distribution / Motown 4:33
Slow Tunes: Timeless Soul Ballads 2006
Various Artists
Golden Stars 4:37
People Get Ready: 24 Soul Legends 2006
Various Artists
Wonderful Music 4:38
Billboard #1s: The '70s 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 3:56
#1 Super 70's Hits 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 4:36
We Are Family [Time/Life] 2006
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:38
Beautiful Ballads 2006 Buddah / Columbia / Legacy 4:40
Collections 2007 Legacy / Sony BMG 4:39
Absolute Legends 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:41
Love Will Find Its Own Way: The Best of Gladys Knight & the Pips 2007 Legacy 4:40
American Soul, Vol. 1 2007
Various Artists
Hudson Street
Midnight Train to Georgia: The Best of Gladys Knight and the Pips 2007 Music Club Records
100 Hits: Soul 2007
Various Artists
100 Hits 4:21
Absolute Movie Love Songs 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:41
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:41
Top of the Pops 1976 2007
Various Artists
EMI 4:40
Best of R&B [Box Set] 2007
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 4:38
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop and Classic R&B [Borders Exclusive] 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 4:38
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic R&B 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 4:38
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Nordstrom
This Is Soul [Metro Triples] 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 4:42
Greatest Hits 1973-1985 2008 Varèse Sarabande
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:31
Rock & Roll '70s 2009
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:36
Super Hits [2009] 2009 Sony Music Distribution / BMG / Sony BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 3:53
Essential Memories of Love 2010
Various Artists
4:33
Chilled R&B: Summer Classics 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:49
The Music of Gladys Knight & the Pips 2010 Buddha Records / Columbia / Legacy / SMG 4:38
Romancing the '70s 2010
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:39
Lo Esencial de Jugo de Hits 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music Entertainment 4:35
S.O.U.L. 2011 Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 4:44
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution / Source Interlink / Virgin 4:40
Pure... America 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:53
50 Romantic Records, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Warner Music
No Image
Various Artists
Disky
Good Morning, Vietnam
Various Artists
Disky
Massive Hits! Seventies
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:51
Mum Songs
Various Artists
Crimson 3:19
No Image
Various Artists
PolyGram
The Classic 70s Collection [Sony]
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:40
The Greatest Love Songs of the '70s
Various Artists
Time Life 4:39
The Ultimate Smooth Album
Various Artists
BMG