Big Mama Thornton | Artist

Big Mama Thornton | Artist

Tags: Era_1950s, Genre_Blues, Origin_USA, Type_Artist

Willie Mae Thornton aka "Big Mama", was an American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter born 1926 in Ariton, Alabama. Her father was a Baptist Minister and her mother a singer, and she was immersed in gospel and blues music from an early age. She was the first to record Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog", in 1952, which became her biggest hit, staying seven weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B chart and selling almost two million copies. Three years later Elvis Presley recording his hit version of the song which sold ten million copies. Many musicologists regard Thornton as one of the first true Rock'n'Roll performers. Her career faded in the late '50s but she had a resurgence in the late '60's when she signed with Arhoolie Records and began working with Muddy Waters. Janis Joplin was a big fan of Thornton's and did a cover version of her song "Ball and Chain" on the Cheap Thrills album. Outstanding albums include In Europe, Stronger Than Dirt, The Way it Is and Big Mama Thornton: The Queen at Monterey (live).

Artist Website: wikipedia/Big_Mama_Thornton

Featured Albums: Big Mama Thornton

Related Artists: Muddy Waters, Janis Joplin

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