Robert Knight, who tape-recorded the first version the "Everlasting Love," among the greatest songs to come out of Nashville, died Sunday after ~ a brief illness. He was 72 years old. 

He to be born Robert Peebles in Franklin top top April 24, 1945. 

As young man, he to be a member the the Fairlanes and sang lead because that the Paramounts before ending up being a solo artist. 

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In 1967, if performing throughout a fraternity party in ~ Vanderbilt University, Mac Gayden heard "this voice comes from the Kappa Sigma house." he ran end there and met Knight together he was coming off the stage.

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"He didn"t desire to speak to me, but I provided him mine card," Gayden remembered. 

Knight"s infectious, soaring recording became one R&B and pop hit, and also a coast music staple. Over the last half-century, it has been covered by Carl Carlton, Love Affair, U2 and also Gloria Estefan, among others. 

"With "Everlasting Love," Knight developed the blueprint for among the most famous, many enduring song to ever come the end of Music City," said Michael Gray, a historian at the nation Music hall of Fame and Museum. "Recording broadly with Mac Gayden and Buzz Cason in the 1960s, Robert was working in integrated bands as soon as it to be still taboo to do so in part places. The initial version of "Everlasting Love" is a prime instance of the effective musical exchange between black and white musicians during a te of great racial upheaval and also Civil legal rights struggles in the South." 

After stepping away from music, Knight operated at Vanderbilt as a lab technician and also on the grounds crew. "Robert was just a good guy and very gentle man," claimed Gayden.

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Knight was featured in the country Music room of Fame and also Museum"s exhibit "Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm and also Blues," which opened in 2004 and ran for much more than a year.

The exhibit closed with a section about the do and influence of "Everlasting Love." stated Gray, "We want to display a prime example of just how one Nashville R&B song has actually lived ~ above in popular society over the decades. While we had several options, the decision to use that uplifting track was straightforward choice."