March 7, 2005 by

Edward Patten


Categories: Musicians

Edward Roy Patten, a member of the Grammy Award-winning R&B group Gladys Knight & The Pips, died on Feb. 25 from complications of a stroke. He was 65.
The Atlanta native had music in his soul. He grew up singing in his church and accompanying local doo-wop groups. In 1959, Patten’s cousin, Gladys Knight, invited him to join her singing group. Together with her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight, and cousin William Guest, the extended family formed the R&B quartet known as The Pips. Their 1961 debut, “Every Beat of My Heart,” hit #1 on the R&B chart and #6 on the pop chart. The following year, however, a small record company encouraged the group to give Gladys’ name more prominence.
Gladys Knight & The Pips moved to Detroit in 1966 and became a staple of the Motown line-up. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the group scored Top 40 hits with “Friendship Train,” “It Should Have Been Me,” “The End of Our Road,” “If I Were Your Woman,” “Neither One of Us” and the original version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Patten sang bass and tenor for the group and choreographed many of its stylish dance routines.
In 1973, Gladys Knight & The Pips switched to Buddah Records and attained superstardom on pop and R&B radio stations with “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” and “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” The group continued performing into the 1980s and won four Grammy Awards before disbanding. Gladys Knight & The Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
In recent years, Patten co-founded Crew Records. He worked as a back-up vocalist to the label’s recording artists until 1995 when a series of strokes robbed him of his ability to sing.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR
The Best of Gladys Knight & the Pips Download MP3s From Gladys Knight & The Pips

3 Responses to Edward Patten

  1. kevin

    i am a big big fan of the group and i will miss edward , my heart go’s out to his family and mrs gladys knight and william and bubba

  2. Alan

    God bless Cousin Ed and may he grace heaven with his silky, smooth vocals. He may not have wanted to be the first to say goodbye, but Cousin Ed was the first one of this legendary ensemble to say goodbye to all of us. We are all better off for the rich musical legacy that he helped to create.

  3. T. C. Slawder

    I just learned that he past away so many years ago after i just saw a GEICO commercial with the PIPS. I thought to myself “hey those PIPS look kind of fake” which led me to look up the PIPS, I still not sure who those guys were…. Do you? E- me if you know ? Until then R.I.P. Edward Roy Patten R.I.P.

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