Jean Knight

Jean Knight Artistfacts

  • January 26, 1943
  • Her birth name was Jean Caliste. She adopted the professional name of Jean Knight because she felt that "Caliste" was too hard to pronounce.
  • In the mid-'60s, she recorded four singles for the Jet Star/Tribe labels which were owned by Huey Meaux. The songs were popular locally but not nationally. By the late sixties, it was obvious that Knight's singing career was not going to live up to the expectations that she had. Shortly thereafter, she went to work as a baker in the cafeteria of Loyola University.
  • Around 1970, while singing was just a hobby for Knight, she was discovered by a songwriter named Ralph Williams, who wanted her to record some songs. With Williams' connections, she came in touch with a music producer named Wardell Quezerque. One of the songs, which was co-written by Williams and produced by Quezerque, would eventually become Knight's biggest smash hit - "Mr. Big Stuff."
  • After her biggest hit "Mr. Big Stuff" a few minor hits followed, but disagreements with her producer Wardell Quezerque and Stax Records put her involvement with Stax to an end. Knight then recorded songs for different small labels but then ended up touring on the oldies-but-goodies circuit. Her career made a turn for the better in 1981, when she began working with local producer Isaac Bolden who signed her to his label Soulin'. She then recorded a single (under the name Jean Knight & Premium) entitled "You Got The Papers But I Got The Man" (an answer to Betty Wright's hit "I've Got The Papers On The Man"). Although the record failed to crack the pop market, it did become a minor R&B/Soul hit.
  • In 1981, she teamed up with local producer Isaac Bolden who signed her to his Soulin' label. Together, they came up with a song entitled "You Got the Papers But I Got The Man." an answer to Betty Wright's hit "I've Got The Papers On The Man." The song was leased to Atlantic for national release; and although the song failed to make certain national markets, Knight found herself touring more consistently again.
  • In 1985, she gained more recognition when she covered Rockin' Sidney's zydeco novelty hit "My Toot Toot." Her version proved the most successful, reaching #50 on the pop charts and topping certain other markets; an album of the same name reached the US Top 200. Knight was then given a chance to perform this song on the variety show Solid Gold. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillian

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillianSong Writing

A Soul Train dancer takes us through a day on the show, and explains what you had to do to get camera time.

Little Richard

Little RichardFact or Fiction

Was Long Tall Sally a cross-dresser? Did he really set his piano on fire? See if you know the real stories about one of rock's greatest innovators.

Matt Sorum

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."

Art Alexakis of Everclear

Art Alexakis of EverclearSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer of Everclear, Art is also their primary songwriter.

Janet Jackson

Janet JacksonFact or Fiction

Was Janet secretly married at 18? Did she gain 60 pounds for a movie role that went to Mariah Carey? See what you know about Ms. Jackson.