New Orleans soul singer Jean Knight had her greatest success at Stax, but she charted with other songs as well.
Jean Knight, whose big 1971 hit, “ Mr. Big Stuff “, stayed at No. 1 on the R&B charts for five weeks and reached No. 2 on the Pop charts, has died at the age of 80, her longtime friend Bernie Cyrus confirmed to WECB.
“ She was the first person we appointed to the board when we took it over and we had a long relationship with her, she was just fabuloussaid Bernie Cyrus, who served as executive director of the Louisiana Music Commission for two decades. She was always ready to get involved in good causes and help. The song “Mr. Big Stuff” was so universal. People remember it. And look, so many people picked it up. But no one did it like Jean. »
Born in New Orleans, Jean Knight began singing publicly after graduating from high school. Her appearances attract the attention of city bands who support her in concert. In 1965, she recorded her first song, a demo of ” Stop Doggin’ Me Around » by Jackie Wilson, which allowed him to sign a recording contract with the Jet Star/Tribe labels. She continues to record and build a reputation locally.
In 1970, she got her break when she began working with record producer Wardell Quezergue. She was working as a baker when she recorded “ Mr. Big Stuff » at Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi. This sassy funk hit, released on the Stax Records label, which denounces male vanity, was a resounding success and became one of the legendary label’s best-selling singles. It was certified double platinum and received a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. In total, it has sold more than three million copies, according to the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. The song appears on the album of the same name.
After leaving Stax, Knight continued his music career, recording material for several labels, although none rivaled the massive success of ” Mr. Big Stuff “. Ten years later, she gained national attention again when she worked with producer Isaac Bolden and his label Soulin’ on ” You Got the Papers (But I Got the Man) “, which was released nationally by Atlantic Records, and led to the singer doing more touring.
His cover of Rockin’ Sydney’s zydeco hit ” My Toot Toot ” in 1985, which is the title of her third studio album, further cemented her fame and she was chosen to sing on Solid Goldand appeared on PBS in the special Soul Comes Home in 2003, where she performed “ Mr Big Stuff “.
In 2007, the song “ Do Me » by Jean Knight appeared on the soundtrack of Superbadthe same year she was inducted into the Louisiana Music Commission Hall of Fame.