The R&B world got a humorous distraction thanks to a Twitter spat between Anita Baker and Cheryl Lynn last night. It's an odd sight, but it shouldn't overshadow the special day of one of the genre's finest. The legendary Gladys Knight turns 71 today (May 28).

Coming out of Atlanta, Ga., Knight achieved acclaim when she became the lead singer of Gladys Knight & the Pips, an act that included members of the Knight family. The group had multiple hits with Motown in the late '60s, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)."

Gladys Knight & the Pips truly blew up when they joined Buddha Records in 1973. They brought their pop acumen and Knight's soaring vocal talents to the label. That same year, the group released "Midnight Train to Georgia." Although the hits kept coming, that would be the group's lone No. 1 song.

The family group disbanded in 1988, but of course, Knight was great enough of a singer to carry on by herself. She had 11 solo albums, and Good Woman, her 1991 effort, was the only one to go gold with the help of the R&B hit "Men." "That's What Friends Are For," a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, is the only No. 1 single she has as a solo artist.

These days, Knight sits as one of the greatest singers of all time. She puts out music every now and then, and pops up for a public appearance every so often. Three years ago, Knight competed on Dancing With the Stars, where she lost on Week 6. Ironically, that night was Motown night.

Watch Gladys Knight's "Men" Video

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