Jean Knight, Hit Singer of “Mr. Big Stuff,” Passes Away at the Age of 80

( — Famous R&B and soul legend Jean Knight died on November 22 of natural causes at the age of 80. Knight’s 1971 hit single Mr. Big Stuff was her most iconic song, with its continued use in advertising and film keeping its sassy refrain “Who do you think you are?” fresh in the public mind.

In 2002, Knight commented that the song’s popularity in the film industry and marketing made it even better for her all these years later than when it was brand new, as she just had to sit back and “wait for the mailman” to bring her those royalty checks. Her appearance in Superbad, along with the film’s use of her song “Do Me,” gave her another royalty-earning comeback for younger audiences.

While some of Knight’s fans may not be aware that she was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, she was well-honored and beloved in her home city. In a statement released by her family, they stated that she was a treasured part of the city’s musical legacy. The family added that she loved to cook Creole food and loved to celebrate Mardi Gras with several of the krewes, which are social clubs that organize the yearly celebration that is a vital part of New Orleans culture. Knight was also proud to serve on the Louisiana Music Commission. Her friend Bernie Cyrus, former executive director of the Louisiana Music Commission, praised Knight for her generous spirit, saying that she was always there for a good cause and ready to help.

Before capturing the public’s hearts with Mr. Big Stuff, Knight had recorded several singles, including her first one at age 22, which was a cover of Jackie Wilson’s “Stop Doggin’ Me Around.” “Mr. Big Stuff” was nominated for a Grammy, and according to the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, it sold over 3 million copies. While the music itself is a great legacy, Knight’s family honored her spirit by talking about how she always seemed to make every fan feel appreciated, whether she was singing in small New Orleans clubs or performing in large venues for international music festivals. They added that while family, friends, and fans must say farewell to this musical icon, she has left an “indelible mark” upon the world.

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