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Jean Knight New Orleans Louisiana Mr. Big Stuff songs dead

Source: David Redfern / Getty

Jean Knight, an R&B and soul singer most known for her iconic 1971 track “Mr. Big Stuff,” died at the age of 80 due to natural causes, according to TMZ.

A statement shared by the musician’s family detailed that the proud New Orleans-bred songstress passed away Nov. 22.

“Ms. 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,” noted her family. “As we bid farewell to this iconic soulstress, New Orleans and her global fan base join together in gratitude for the inedible much left on the world.”


“Mr. Big Stuff” was produced by fellow New Orleans musician Wardell Quezerque and released via Memphis’ Stax Records music label in 1971.

The title track made the Billboard Hot 100, and its album landed on the Top 200 Albums chart. Knight received a Grammy nomination for the song in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category leading up to the event’s 14th annual ceremony in 1972. The late singer ultimately lost the award to Aretha Franklin for the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The women’s other competitors that evening were Diana Ross, Freda Payne and Janis Joplin.

In addition to musical recognition, “Mr. Big Stuff” also reflected success in its sales. The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame noted that the song sold over three million copies. The late musician was inducted into the Southern State’s Musical Hall of Fame in 2007.

“‘Mr. Big Stuff’ –which became famous for the infectious refrain, ‘Who do you think you are?’ — wasn’t just a chart-topping anthem,” Knights’ family thoughtfully memorialized. [The song] was the product of soulful, syncopated melodies that echoed through the Crescent City.”

Knight’s decades-long career contributed to a soulful and rich legacy that will live on. Her songs over the years included her 1965 breakout track, “Doggin’ Me Around,” 1985’s Rockin’ Sydney’s cover “(Don’t Mess With) My Toot Toot,” 1990’s “You Think You’re Hot Stuff” and 2012’s “Bill.”

Knight’s loved ones noted that in addition to her passions for music and performing, the late singer also loved celebrating Mardi Gras and cooking Creole food for her loved ones.

Rest in peace to a true Black soulful songbird. May her voice continue to bless many ears.

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