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Big Mama Thornton

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Birth Name: Willie Mae Thornton
Born: 1926/12/11
Birth Place: Ariton, Alabama, United States
Died: 1984/07/25
Years Active: 1947–1984
Genres: Rhythm And Blues, Texas Blues

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 the hit song "Hound Dog" in 1952. The song was #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks. The B-side was "They Call Me Big Mama," and the single sold almost two million copies. Three years later, Elvis Presley recorded his version, based on a version performed by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys. In a similar occurrence, she wrote and recorded "Ball 'n' Chain," which became a hit for her. Janis Joplin later recorded "Ball and Chain," and was a huge success in the late 1960s.

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