Gladys Knight and the Pips, with a history of pop and R&B hits that stretches back to 1961, will receive the lifetime achievement award at this year’s Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards, the annual awards and performance ceremony that honors R&B greats. The event will be held Feb. 26 at the New York Sheraton as part of Grammy Week ceremonies.
Individual artists receiving Pioneer Awards are 1950s blues shouter Faye Adams (“Shake a Hand”); James Brown’s vocal group leader Bobby Byrd (“Baby, Baby, Baby”); ’60s deep soul singer Tyrone Davis (“Can I Change My Mind”); the flamboyant Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (“I Put a Spell on You”); New Orleans legend Ernie K-Doe (“Mother-in-Law”); and Marvin Gaye duet partner Kim Weston (“It Takes Two”).
Side musicians receiving the cash awards — $205,000 will be shared by the 12 recipients — are Atlantic Records founder Herb Abramson and David (Fathead) Newman, featured saxophonist on Ray Charles’ classic recordings and a solo artist for the last 20 years.
Performance groups are the New Haven, Conn., doo-woppers the Five Satins (“In the Still of the Night”); balladeers the Harptones (“Sunday Kind of Love”); and Philly soul immortals the O’Jays (“Backstabbers”).
Sire Records CEO Seymour Stein will serve as honorary chairman of the event, which will include performances by the honorees and an all-star band.