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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Howard


Written by: Melanie Smith-Howard

Gladys Knight, Harlan Howard, Jimmy Newman and Tony Brown

Producer extraordinaire, Tony Brown, called and asked if Harlan and I would be willing to host a cocktail party gathering at Harlan Howard Songs for superstar, Gladys Knight and some Music Row folks. We readily agreed. Gladys was also in town to do a benefit show for W.O. Smith School of Music which I was an active board member at the time.

Gladys and her son Jimmy Newman arrived at our office for a meet and greet with lots of

songwriters, producers, label heads already present. She was stunningly beautiful in her casual black ball cap and black sweater and pants. She was cordial and very giving with her time to all who attended.

I love this photo of Gladys Knight, Harlan Howard, Jimmy Newman and Tony Brown. Look how beautiful Gladys is in this photo. Her complexion radiates and her smile is a knockout. Her son, Jimmy’s smile is so infectious. Sadly, Jimmy Newman, passed away a few short months after this event. As I recall he died of natural causes in his sleep which is a tragedy of epic proportions. He managed Gladys’ career at the time of his death.

On a side note of this photo, I love seeing friends, Beth Neilsen Chapman and Chely Wright Blitzer peeking out from bookcase in Harlan’s office.

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