Jean Knight

Jean Knight - born Jean Caliste in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 26, 1943 – is a soul and R&B vocalist best known for her 1971 single “Mr. Big Stuff”. She began her career by singing at Laura’s Place, a bar owned by her cousin. In 1965, she recorded a demo that attracted producer Huey Meaux. Signing to the label Jet Star/Tribe Records, she released four singles. After little success, she left the music business in the late ‘60s to work in Loyola University’s cafeteria. In early 1970, songwriter Ralph Williams asked her to record a few songs, one of which was entitled “Mr. Big Stuff”. The recording was shopped to various labels but was ultimately rejected. Stax Records had a change of heart and released the single in 1971 and it became a massive hit, rising to Number 1 on the R&B chart and Number 2 on the Hot 100. The single was certified double platinum and Jean Knight was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. The album Mr. Big Stuff was released the same year and peaked at Number 6 on the R&B Albums chart. She released a few more singles for Stax Records but disagreements with the label led to her being dropped from their roster. She spent the next decade playing the oldies circuit and releasing a few singles in order to renew interest in her career. In 1981, she released the album Keep It Comin’, which sold well and Jean Knight went back on the road. She covered Rockin’ Sidney’s “My Toot Toot”, which hit Number 50 on the singles chart – the song was taken from the 1985 album of the same name. She continued to tour all over the world but didn’t release another album until 1997’s Shaki de Boo-Tee. The album Queen followed in 1999. She was honored by the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007 for her contributions to Louisiana music. Jean Knight died on November 22, 2023, at the age of 80 years old.

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Stations Featuring Jean Knight

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