Mr. Big Stuff singer Jean Knight has died at the age of 80 from natural causes: ‘We bid farewell to this iconic soulstress’

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Mr. Big Stuff singer Jean Knight has died at the age of 80 from natural causes, according to her publicist.

The 80-year-old R&B and soul singer’s death was initially reported by veteran New Orleans broadcaster LBJ, who posted a press release from her family dated this past Wednesday that was subsequently confirmed by TMZ. 

‘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. ‘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.’ 

Other singles Knight released in her career included Carry On, Do Me, My Toot Toot, Helping Man, Jesse Joe (You Got to Go) and You Think You’re Hot Stuff.

Knight, who is best known for her 1971 song Mr. Big Stuff, which hit the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release, and another five weeks in the top spot on Billboard Soul Singles chart.

Mr. Big Stuff singer Jean Knight has died at the age of 80. Pictured in 2014 in New Orleans 

The 80-year-old R&B and soul singer's death was initially reported by veteran New Orleans broadcaster LBJ this past Wednesday, as he posted a statement from her family

The 80-year-old R&B and soul singer’s death was initially reported by veteran New Orleans broadcaster LBJ this past Wednesday, as he posted a statement from her family  

Knight’s family pointed to her vaunted career in their statement, noting her stints at JetStream Records, Stax Records and eventually her own record label named Comstar.

The family said it ‘kindly requests privacy during this difficult time and  expresses heartfelt gratitude for the love and support from fans.’

Mr. Big Stuff, the catchy song from the New Orleans vocalist, has been a staple in other media such as TV, film and other musical tracks via sampling.

Among the productions to use the song include black-ish, Everwood, Family Guy, The Deuce, Semi-Pro and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Musical artists who have sampled or remixed the track include Queen Latifah, John Legend, the Beastie Boys, TLC, Eazy-E, Heavy D & The Boyz, Everclear and Girl Talk, among others. The track was also covered by artists such as Precious Metal and Lyn Collins.

Knight was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in October of 2007 at an event in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to a bio from the LMHOF, the performer, whose real name is Jean Caliste, initially made her breakthrough in music when her first husband persuaded her to record a demo tape at J&M Studio in 1965. Among the tracks she performed was a cover of Stop Doggin’ Me Around from Jackie Wilson.

Texas-based producer Huey Meaux was present working with a separate artist and was impressed with Knight, signing her to a recording contract.

The vocalist was pictured during a performance in 1970

The vocalist was pictured during a performance in 1970

The musical artist was pictured onstage in her native New Orleans in 1986

The musical artist was pictured onstage in her native New Orleans in 1986 

Knight was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in October of 2007. Pictured in New Orleans in 2012

Knight was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in October of 2007. Pictured in New Orleans in 2012

Knight had been working as a baker at Loyola University in New Orleans, when ‘a stranger approached her to say he’d written some songs that producer Wardell Quezergue wanted her to sing,’ according to the LMHOF.

She traveled to Jackson, Mississippi’s Malaco Studio, where she first heard a recording of Mr. Big Stuff. She wanted to make changes to the song, which was a ballad she hoped to ‘liven’ up.

One of the song’s writers Joe Broussard told Knight to sing the song ‘the way she felt it,’ and she delivered the eventual version ‘on her second take,’ according to the LMHOF.

Memphis-based Stax Records eventually picked up and released the song Mr. Big Stuff, which was ‘an overnight sensation in the Washington and New York markets’ in May of 1971, eventually hitting the Billboard charts.

It stayed on the charts for 16 weeks, going on to sell in excess of three million copies, the LMHOF said.

Knight was pictured singing at the New Orleans Jazzfest in April of 1999

Knight was pictured singing at the New Orleans Jazzfest in April of 1999

The entertainer was pictured in New Orleans in April of 2012 

Knight, seen in 2012, made critical changes to the tempo and pacing of Mr. Big Stuff when she recorded it

Knight, seen in 2012, made critical changes to the tempo and pacing of Mr. Big Stuff when she recorded it 

Other singles Knight released in her career included Carry On, Do Me, My Toot Toot, Helping Man, Jesse Joe (You Got to Go) and You Think You're Hot Stuff. Pictured in 2016 in New Orleans

Other singles Knight released in her career included Carry On, Do Me, My Toot Toot, Helping Man, Jesse Joe (You Got to Go) and You Think You’re Hot Stuff. Pictured in 2016 in New Orleans 

A number of the singer's fans took to Twitter to mourn her passing Sunday

A number of the singer’s fans took to Twitter to mourn her passing Sunday

A number of the singer’s fans took to Twitter to mourn her passing Sunday.

One user said: ‘RIP Jean Knight, prayers to her family. Thank you for this classic.’

Another said, ‘RIP Jean Knight. Mr Big Stuff is an absolute classic.’

Said one user, ‘My entire childhood is passing away. RIP Jean Knight!’

Some fans pointed out her biggest hit’s enduring value in remixed and sampled songs.

‘Without this song we wouldn’t have Who Do We Think We Are by John Legend so Thank You, Mrs. Jean Knight,’ one user said.



Post source: Trending Today London

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