Willie Mae "Big Mama" ThorntonSinger
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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