Remembering Jean Knight: A Tribute to the Legendary ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ Singer

At the age of 80, singer Jean Knight of “Mr. Big Stuff” passed away.

Knight passed away in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, November 22, as her family confirmed in a statement posted by New Orleans broadcaster LBJ on X (previously known as Twitter) on Sunday. Her famous 1971 song peaked at the top of the charts for five weeks.

TMZ stated that the singer passed away from natural causes. Additionally, Knight’s friend Bernie Cyrus confirmed her passing to Rolling Stone.

The statement from Knight’s family read, “New Orleans and the music world moves the loss of one of its most treasured, musical daughters, Jean Knight. He departed this world on November 22, 2023, at the age of 80.” “Ms. Knight, a native of New Orleans, played a significant role in preserving the musical heritage of the city.”

At the age of 22, Knight recorded her first demo tape in 1965, which was a rendition of Jackie Wilson’s “Stop Doggin’ Me Around.” Not long after, she signed her first record deal with the Jet Star/Tribe label.

She mixed singing with a day job as a baker until she gained big success with “Mr. Big Stuff,” which was issued by the venerable Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, despite the fact that her career took a while to take off.

The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame reports that the Grammy-nominated song has sold over three million copies and is among the most well-known classic funk tracks of all time, as reported by Rolling Stone.

Cyrus, a former executive director of the Louisiana Music Commission, told Rolling Stone, “She was always willing to get involved with good causes and help out,” “She was just fabulous.”

Knight’s family released a statement on Sunday, describing the late singer as someone who liked cooking excellent Creole cuisine for family and friends, celebrating Mardi Gras with numerous local krewes, and proudly serving on the Louisiana Music Commission in addition to touring and working in recording studios.

“Ms. Knight’s legacy is a testament to the enduring love between an artist, her hometown, and the fans who adored her; it goes beyond just her musical legacy,” the statement read. “New Orleans and her worldwide fan base unite in gratitude for the inedible much left on the world as we bid farewell to this iconic soulstress.”

The family thanked supporters and requested “privacy during this difficult time” as they concluded their statement.

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