Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton

Date Of Birth:
11 December 1926
Date Of Death:
25 July 1984
heart failure
Place Of Birth:
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, earning the nickname 'Big Mama' both for her powerful voice and her ample girth. 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 Presley. In the 1960s "Big Mama" Thornton moved from Texas to California and continued to tour throughout America and Europe. She was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1984.