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Grammy-Nominated Singer Jean Knight, Voice of 'Mr. Big Stuff,' Dies at 80

Jean Knight, the iconic voice behind the 1971 chart-topping hit "Mr. Big Stuff," passed away at the age of 80 in Tampa, Florida. The news was confirmed by her family in a statement shared via New Orleans broadcaster LBJ on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Sunday.

In their heartfelt statement, the family expressed the collective sorrow of New Orleans and the music world at the loss of one of their "most treasured musical daughters." Knight, a native of New Orleans, played a vital role in the city's musical legacy.
Her musical journey began with "Doggin' Me Around" on JetStream Records and reached its zenith with the groundbreaking "Mr. Big Stuff" on Stax Records. The song not only showcased her phenomenal talent but also highlighted her dynamic connection with legendary New Orleans producer Wardell Quezerque.
"Mr. Big Stuff," famous for its infectious refrain, "Who do you think you are?," wasn't just a chart-topping anthem; it was a product of soulful, syncopated melodies echoing through the Crescent City. Knight's powerhouse performances at the Essence Music Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival were legendary, reflecting her sassiness and joyous spirit.
Beyond the stage, Knight's love extended to cooking delicious Creole dishes, celebrating Mardi Gras, and serving on the Louisiana Music Commission. Her resilience and determination led to the formation of her label, Comstar, granting her creative freedom while staying true to her musical traditions.

Over the years "Mr. Big Stuff" has been sampled by numerous artist, including John Legend, TLC, Heavy D & the Boyz, Everclear and Eazy E. It was also used in various advertising campaign, most notably one extolling the virtues of Oreo cookied.

In the 1990s, the resurgence of "Mr. Big Stuff" attested not only to the timeless quality of her music but also to the enduring love of her fans. Over one million additional copies were sold, solidifying the song as a staple in the hearts of fans worldwide.

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