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Jean Knight, A Grammy-Nominated Performer For “Mr. Big Stuff,” Has Died At The Age Of 80

Nominated Performer For Mr Big Stuff Has Died

Jean Knight A Grammy Nominated Performer For Mr Big Stuff Has Died At The Age Of 80. In 1971, her female empowerment hymn topped the Billboard R&B chart and reached No. 2 on the mainstream chart. Its allure has persisted.

 Jean Knight A Grammy Nominated Performer For Mr Big Stuff Has Died At The Age Of 80. Jean Knight, a soul singer whose iconic hit “Mr. Big Stuff,” a brassy hymn of female power that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s rhythm and blues chart in 1971, died on Wednesday in Tampa, Fla. She was 80 years old.

Mona Giamanco, a representative for Ms. Knight’s family, confirmed her death in a hospital. She did not elaborate on the reason.

The fearless narrator of “Mr. Big Stuff,” issued on the Memphis-based Stax label, informs an affluent ladies’ man with “fancy clothes” and “a big fine car” that she would never love him:

Mr. Big Stuff
Who do you think you are?
Mr. Big Stuff
You’re never gonna get my love.

Jean Audrey Knight, born in 1943 in New Orleans, was a renowned R&B singer and actress. She gained fame for her song “Mr. Big Stuff” on the television show “Soul Train,” which showcased her disdain for wealthy men and her desire for a “poor guy that has a love that’s true.”

The song, written by Carrol Washington, Ralph Williams, and Joseph Broussard, topped Billboard’s R&B chart and rose to No. 2 on the magazine’s Hot 100 chart. It was certified double platinum for selling at least two million units.

Knight received a Grammy Award nomination for best female R&B vocal performance and was nominated for best R&B song. The song was recorded on the same day as an earlier No. 1 R&B hit, “Groove Me,” by King Floyd, by talented producer Wardell Quezergue.

In 2002, before singing “Mr. Big Stuff” at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Knight told the audience that the royalties she received from it had helped sustain her financially.

Knight’s song has a long afterlife, being heard on the soundtracks of numerous movies and TV shows and being sampled by Heavy D, Eazy-E, and John Legend. Born Jean Audrey Caliste, she began singing at a cousin’s New Orleans bar after graduating high school.


In 1965, she recorded a version of Jackie Wilson’s hit 1960 song “Doggin’ Around” as a demo, leading to a contract with the Jet Star/Tribe record label.

Knight earned money in the 1960s as a baker’s assistant at two New Orleans universities. After recording “Mr. Big Stuff,” the song was shopped to national labels, but each request was rejected until “Groove Me” became a hit.

She also had another hit single in 1971, “You Think You’re Hot Stuff,” which rose to No. 19 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 57 on the Hot 100.

Knight graduated from nursing school in the 1980s and was a licensed practical nurse for about 15 years. She was a Louisiana Music Commission board member and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007. She was a regular at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, last appearing there in 2016.


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