Big Mama Thornton

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Birthday
11, 1926
Birthplace
Alabama
Death Date
Jul 25, 1984 (57)
Birth Sign
Sagittarius
Birthday
11, 1926
Birthplace
Alabama
Death Date
Jul 25, 1984 (57)

About

American blues singer most widely remembered for her 1952 hit "Hound Dog," which became a huge hit for Elvis Presley three years later. She was nominated for six Blues Music Awards during her career and was inducted into both the Blues Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Before Fame

She quit school following the death of her mother and began working at a local tavern. She left home in 1940 and joined the Sammy Greens Hot Harlem Revue.

Trivia

She became known for the subverting many of the gender expectations of her time, often donning clothes traditionally worn by men during her live performances.

Family Life

Her birth name was Willie Mae Thornton. She was one of seven children born to a minister and a church singer.

Associated With

Like "Hound Dog," her song "Ball 'N' Chain" was later made more famous by another singer, Janis Joplin.