Jean Knight's Mr. Big Stuff brings autobiographical memories of Southwest Virginia in 1971

Cheryl E Preston


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Jean Knight singing Mr. Big Stuff on Soul trainPhoto bySoul Train youtube screenshot

Mr. Big Stuff singer has passed away

According to People, singer Jean Knight died in New Orleans on November 22, at age 80. She was best known for her 1971 hit Mr. Big Stuff which went to #1 and #2 on several music charts. My mind immediately went back in time as I recalled fond memories in Southwest Virginia associated with Knight's chart-topping hit. Science calls this Autobiographical memory.


Autobiographical memories in action

I remember hearing Mr. Big Stuff on WTOY radio while at my aunt's house in Roanoke. I was wearing hip-hugger bell-bottom pants and a big floppy hat. I recall my cousin recording the song and playing it on her cassette recorder during lunch at Botetourt Intermediate Junior High School in Fincastle.

I also remembered my stepsister and me watching Soul Train from her home in Salem and trying to mimic the moves of the Soul Train dancers as Jean Knight sang her hit song.

Sage Journals says Autobiographical memories are quite common and most often involuntary. Keep this in mind if a song triggers you to take a trip down memory lane.

Jean Knight will be remembered

TMZ says Jean Knight died of natural causes and her friend Bernie Cyrus gave the following statement to Rolling Stone.

“New Orleans and the music world moves the loss of one of its st treasured, musical daughters, Jean Knight, he departed this world on November 22, 2023, at the age of 80,” Knight’s family shared in their statement. “Ms. Knight, a native of New Orleans, became an integral part of the city’s musical legacy.”


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I am a native Virginian who writes, about breaking news, nutrition, history, celebrities, and current events that are of interest to those living in the Commonwealth.

Roanoke, VA
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