Jean Knight was an American R&B and soul singer from New Orleans, Louisiana who died on November 22, 2023.
Knight was perhaps best known for her 1971 hit single, “Mr. Big Stuff” released by Stax Records.
Who was Jean Knight?
Jean Knight was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. After graduating from high school, she began singing at Laura’s Place, her cousin’s bar, and caught the attention of many different bands who were willing to accompany her.
In 1965, she recorded a demo of a cover version of Jackie Wilson’s song “Stop Doggin’ Me Around.”
Her demo attracted record producer Huey Meaux, who signed her to a recording contract at the Jet Star/Tribe record labels.
Shortly thereafter, she adopted the professional name of “Jean Knight,” because she felt that her surname Caliste was too hard to pronounce.
Knight recorded four singles, making a name for herself locally, but was not able to attract any national attention.
By the late 1960s, it was obvious that Knight’s career was not living up to her high expectations, so she went to work as a baker in the cafeteria of Dominican College in New Orleans.
In early 1970, Knight was discovered by songwriter Ralph Williams, who wanted her to record some songs. With Williams’ connections, Knight came in contact with record producer Wardell Quezergue.
In May of that year, Knight went to Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi, for a recording session during which she recorded “Mr. Big Stuff.”
After the session was finished, the song was shopped to producers at several national labels, all of whom rejected it.
But when King Floyd’s hit “Groove Me” (also recorded at Malaco Studios) became a #1 R&B hit in early 1971, a producer at Stax Records remembered Knight’s recording of “Mr. Big Stuff,” and released it.
The song also proved to be an instant smash in 1971, reaching No. 2 on the pop chart and becoming a No. 1 R&B hit.
It went double-platinum and received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female; it lost to Aretha Franklin’s version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
It sold over two million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. Knight performed the hit song on Soul Train.
Away from her career, she was a mother and wife. Read on to know Jean Knight husband and children.
Who was Jean Knight married to?
Mr. Big Stuff singer Jean Knight was married twice in her life.
Initially, she tied the knot with Thomas Commedore, resulting in the birth of their son, Emile Commedore.
Subsequently, in the early 1970s, Knight entered into wedlock with Earl Harris, a longshoreman hailing from New Orleans.
Who is Thomas Commedore, Jean Knight’ ex husband
Jean Knight’s husband Thomas Commedore was a co-writer of some of her songs, such as “Low Down Shuffle” and “Don’t Break My Heart”.
He also produced some of her tracks, such as “Gonna Getcha Back” and “That’s What Love Will Make You Do”.
He was credited as E.C. Commedore on the album Shaki de Boo-Tee, which was released in 1997.
Jean Knight and Thomas Commedore had a son together, named Emile Commedore. He is also a musician and has performed with his mother on several occasions32
Who is Earl Harris, Jean Knight husband
Earl Harris, a New Orleans longshoreman, was married to Jean Knight during the early 1970s.
Unfortunately, there is no information available about Knight’s marital status before or after this time, and no details are known about what happened to her husband.
Jean Knight children
Jean Knight had at least one child, a son named Emile Commedore, with her husband Thomas Commedore.
He is also a musician and has performed with his mother on several occasions
There is no information on whether Jean Knight had any other children with her other husbands or partners.
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