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‘Mr. Big Stuff’ Singer Jean Knight Dead at 80


David Redfern/Redferns

R&B/Soul singer Jean Knight, best known for her 1971 hit single “Mr. Big Stuff”, died from natural causes on Nov. 22 at age 80.

Her death was announced by veteran New Orleans broadcaster LBJ in a statement on Monday, Nov. 27. He wrote: “RIP Jean Knight… we’ve all sung Mr. Big Stuff a time or two!”

“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,” her family said in a statement on Monday. “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.”

“Mr. Big Stuff” debuted at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971, and was No. 1 on the Billboard Soul Singles chart for 5 weeks.

The hit was certified double platinum and was the No. 1 Soul Single of the year.

In the song, the New Orleans singer demands more maturity from a man who values his expensive cars and fancy clothes, while breaking other girls’ hearts.

Knight sings:

    I’d rather give my love to a poor guy that has a love that’s true
    Than to be fooled around and get hurt by you
    ‘Cause when I give my love, I want love in return
    Now I know this is a lesson, Mr. Big Stuff, you haven’t learned

Knight was 28 when she performed “Mr. Big Stuff” on Soul Train on December 11, 1971 during the iconic show’s first season (see video below).

She was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1972 Grammy Awards.

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Other artists who sampled her catchy tune include Queen Latifah, John Legend, the Beastie Boys, TLC, Eazy-E, and Heavy D & The Boyz, among others.

Knight was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2007.
 

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