Robert Knight was born on April 24, 1945 in Franklin, Tennessee as Robert Henry Peebles. During the Civil Rights era, Knight made his professional vocal debut with the Paramounts, a racially integrated doo-wop quintet comprised of friends from all-black Natchez High School and all-white Franklin High School. They signed with Dot Records in 1960 and released the single “Free Me,” a minor hit, in 1961.
Throughout his high school years, Knight continued to perform with the Paramounts. After the group disbanded, Knight focused on his studies and graduated from Natchez High School. He enrolled at Tennessee State University in Nashville in 1963 and graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. During his time at TSU, he sang with the Fairlanes, an a cappella doo-wop vocal trio.
Knight’s first single, “Everlasting Love,” was a country soul hit from Nashville released on the Rising Sons label in 1967. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 14 on the Billboard R&B chart. It also reached number 26 in Canada and number 40 in the United Kingdom. The song, however, stayed on the charts for much longer outside of the United States.
Knight’s songs “Blessed Are The Lonely” and “Isn’t It Lonely Together” both reached number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. The latter hit no. 85 on the Canadian Singles chart. In 1973, his single “Love on a Mountain Top” peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the following year, 1974, it was re-released and peaked at number 19 in the United Kingdom. Robert Knight’s final album was “Love on a Mountain Top.”
Knight worked in a variety of capacities after leaving the music industry as a performer. This included positions as a chemical lab technician, chemistry teacher, and grounds crew member on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville, Tennessee.
Knight was featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s exhibit “Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm and Blues” in 2004. In 2014, Knight performed for the Baby Boomer Legends benefit concert at the Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee’s historic district.
Robert Knight, a one-hit wonder, passed away on November 5, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 72. None of his recordings were as successful as his only top 40 hit, “Everlasting Love.”