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AMAs 2018: Watch Gladys Knight Honor Aretha Franklin With Gospel Tribute

Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans joined for all-star medley

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Gladys Knight performs onstage while an image of the late Aretha Franklin is projected on a screen during the 2018 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on October 9, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Gladys Knight fronted a soulful gospel tribute to the late Aretha Franklin on Tuesday at the 2018 American Music Awards.

Getty Images/ Frederick M. Brown

Gladys Knight fronted a soulful gospel tribute to the late Aretha Franklin on Tuesday at the 2018 American Music Awards. Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans joined for the all-star medley performance, which highlighted Franklin’s gospel roots and her seminal 1972 album, Amazing Grace.

Knight opened the show-closing set with a tender version of “Amazing Grace,” belting over piano and organ. The other singers followed with emphatic, spiritual takes on songs like “Climbing Higher Mountains,” “Mary, Don’t You Weep” and “How I Got Over.”

Knight, a personal friend of Franklin’s, also performed at the soul legend’s Detroit, Michigan funeral, singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Her appearance, however, was clouded with confusion when a local TV station reported that the vocalist said she was battling pancreatic cancer – the disease that killed Franklin. Knight subsequently clarified that she had previously been diagnosed with stage one breast cancer but is now “cancer-free.”

Franklin died in August at age 76, prompting tributes from numerous artists, including Mavis StaplesSmokey RobinsonChris StapletonCeline Dion and Mariah Carey. Record executive Clive Davis is reportedly planning an all-star Franklin tribute concert for November 14th at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

Newswire

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