Gladys Knight was four when she sang in her first church recital. She recalls “running up and down the aisles, playing there. My mom and dad always let us be kids.”

That’s not to say that the beloved R&B veteran, who turned 70 in May, ever took what she was singing, or hearing, for granted. At home, her parents would “sit us down and read Bible stories.” Many decades later, she would earn two Grammy Awards in gospel categories, for the 2005 album One Voice and a duet version of Heaven Help Us All performed with Ray Charles, featured on Charles’ posthumous Genius Loves Company.

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