On this day in music history: March 17, 1973 – “Neither One Of Us (Wants To The First To Say Goodbye)” by Gladys Knight & The Pips hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #2 for 2 weeks on April 7, 1973. Written by Jim Weatherly, it is the third R&B chart topper for the veteran vocal quartet from Atlanta, GA. Penned by songwriter Jim Weatherly (“Midnight Train To Georgia”, “The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me”), it is the first single and title track to Gladys Knight & The Pips’ final album on Motown’s Soul Records subsidiary. Signed to Motown since 1966, the group score a successful string of top 40 R&B and pop hits. In spite of this, they feel that they are not given the same attention and promotional support that many of the labels Detroit born acts are afforded, feeling like outsiders in the often “clannish” atmosphere around the label. So when Buddah Records comes calling in early 1973, just as their Motown contract is expiring, they seize the opportunity and sign with them. Released as a single in December of 1972, “Neither One Of Us” quickly becomes a smash on the R&B and pop singles chart. When Gladys Knight & The Pips version is entering the charts in January of 1973, country singer Bob Luman’s cover of the song is charting concurrently on the Billboard Country singles chart, peaking at #7 on April 7, 1973. The single wins the group their first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1974. They also win the Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or A Group Grammy the same year for “Midnight Train To Georgia”. In later years, the song is covered several more times, including versions by Linda George, Bob Luman, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Jaya, and David Sanborn. Gladys Knight & The Pips version is sampled as the basis of R&B singer Angie Stone’s hit “No More Rain (In This Cloud)” in 1999.
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