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Mr. Big Stuff Singer Jean Knight Dead At 80

Mr. Big Stuff Singer Jean Knight Dead At 80

Jean Knight, the R&B and funk singer behind the 1971 hit “Mr. Big Stuff,” has been confirmed dead. She was 80 years old.

“New Orleans and the music world mourns the loss of one its most treasure musical daughters, Jean Knight,” her family said in a statement shared via the Stax Museum of American Soul Music on Sunday. Knight died Wednesday, her family confirmed.

The statement ends … “Jean Knight’s legacy is not just a musical one; it is a testament to the enduring love between an artist, her hometown, and the fans who adored her. As we bid farewell to this iconic soulstress, New Orleans and her global fan base join together in gratitude for the indelible mark she left on the world.” The family requests privacy at this time.

Knight, born Jean Caliste, released her first song, a cover of Jackie Wilson’s song “Stop Doggin’ Me Around” in 1965. She landed a deal with Stax Records after she released the hit “Mr Big Stuff.”

“‘Mr. Big Stuff,’ which became famous for the infectious refrain, ‘Who do you think you are?’, wasn’t just a chart-topping anthem; it was the product of soulful, syncopated melodies that echoed through the Crescent City,” Knight’s family wrote in the tribute.

Her hit single peaked at #1 on the Billboard Soul Singles chart, and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 — but it ended up being featured in numerous films and TV shows.

Jean had recorded lots of other songs throughout her career but none ever reached the success of ‘Big Stuff.’ The hit sold over one million copies and earned her a Grammy Award nomination in 1972 for best female R&B vocal performance alongside Diana Ross, Janis Joplin, Freda Payne and the category winner Aretha Franklin.

Knight family said:

“Her concerts were not just performances but celebrations of the enduring bond she shared with those who appreciated her music. Whether in the intimate venues of the French Quarter or on the grand stages of global music festivals, Ms. Knight made every fan a cherished part of her extended musical family.”

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