Patti LaBelle vs. Gladys Knight: A Recap of the Soul Icons' Epic Verzuz Battle

Equal parts nostalgia, sisterhood and supreme talent, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight's Verzuz battle was a musical showdown rooted in love.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 14, 2020 4:36 PMTags
Watch: What's Patti LaBelle's Favorite Aretha Franklin Song?

Two living music legends revisiting their iconic hits? That's music to fans' ears. 

Thanks to Timbaland and Swizz Beatz's webcast series, Verzuz—in which two performers battle each other using their discographies—fans got to see exactly that unfold between Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle. As queens of the music industry with 36 Grammy nominations between them, the highly anticipated showdown was equal parts impressive and nostalgic as the women—known respectively as the "Empress" and "Godmother" of Soul—revisited their beloved songs.

Knight and LaBelle took turns over several hours serenading each other and viewers live from Philadelphia on Sunday, Sept. 13, a welcomed opportunity after months without the chance to perform. "It's like the closest we've gotten since COVID to performing," LaBelle said. "It's like a concert."

Amid the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, Knight added, "I hope that the music we're delivering them right now is something positive. We're talking and we're singing about love."

Music Legends

However, the stars didn't take a soulful stroll down their decades-long careers, impressively belting out their tracks, swapping stories and even kicking off their heels (yes, Patti!) with just each other. 

In the final round of the battle, the ladies were joined by none other than Dionne Warwick to perform "That's What Friends Are For" as a trio. The moment, 35 years after the release of Warwick's star-studded version featuring Knight, was the definition of touching. 

But, the singers had one more song in store in the name of sisterhood—the trio's 1991 cover of "Superwoman."

"What a night," Knight said. 

LaBelle added, "We've had our moments up here tonight and we're blessed whoever's watching that you watched and that you saw real love because that's what it is."

While choosing a winner between two greats feels wrong, the track list for this Verzuz battle is below. You can be the judge, or as Michael B. Jordan was doing, simply enjoy the show. As the actor tweeted, "They sittin down but I'm standin up !"

Patti LaBelle:

All Right Now

If You Asked Me To

Stir It Up

When You've Been Blessed (Feels Like Heaven)

If You Don't Know Me By Now

My Love, Sweet Love

Love, Need and Want You

The Right Kinda Lover

Over the Rainbow

Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is)

Kiss Away the Pain

New Attitude

On My Own

New Day

Feels Like Another One (featuring Big Daddy Kane)

The Alphabet Song (from Sesame Street)

Lady Marmalade

You Are My Friend

If Only You Knew

Gladys Knight:

You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Make Yours a Happy Home

Every Beat of My Heart

On and On

License to Kill

Midnight Train to Georgia

Someone to Watch Over Me

Friendship Train

Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)

You're Number One (In My Book)

I've Got to Use My Imagination

Midnight Train to Georgia

Love Overboard

That's What Friends Are For (featuring Dionne Warwick)

Superwoman (featuring Dionne Warwick & Patti LaBelle)