Growing up, I wanted to be a Pip. Not just any Pip, but the Pip in the middle. He appeared to be the Moe of the Pips, the leader, the guy who was not afraid to smack the other Pips in the back of the head with a vicious slap or a lead pipe, and say, “Spread out, numbskulls.”
In the early 1970s, Gladys Knight & The Pips performed “Midnight Train To Georgia” on the Grammy Awards. I was mesmerized by their rhythmic sidesteps, graceful hip swivels. and orchestrated finger snaps, as well as the large bouncing afros. So bad ass. The topper was the simulation of that midnight train, the three Pips like playful engineers pulling the whistle and singing, woo hoo. Sure, Gladys Knight was amazing, but without the Pips, she can only be Gladys Knight.