Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton


Born: 11 December 1926
Died: 25 July 1984 (heart failure)
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
Best known as: Blues legend and original singer of "Hound Dog"
Willie Mae Thornton toured the south as a blues singer in the 1940s, then settled in Texas. She wrote and sang blues songs, played the harmonica and taught herself to play the drums. In 1953 she had a hit with "Hound Dog", the song later made even more famous by Elvis. In the 1960s "Big Mama" Thornton moved to California and continued to tour throughout America and Europe. In 1984 she was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame.

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