Big Mama Thornton
12/11/1926-07/25/1984 in Montgomery, AL

Biography

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984) was an American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter. 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 in 1953 and selling almost two million copies. However, her success was overshadowed three years later, when Elvis Presley recorded his more popular rendition of "Hound Dog". Similarly, Thornton's "Ball 'n' Chain" (written in 1961 but not released until 1968) had a bigger impact when performed and recorded by Janis Joplin from 1967. ... (see more)


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