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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 Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog" in 1952, which became her biggest hit. It spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B charts in 1953 and sold almost two million copies. However, her success was overshadowed three years later, when Elvis Presley recorded his more popular rendition of "Hound Dog". Similarly, Thornton's "Ball 'n' Chain" (written in 1961 but not released until 1968) had a bigger impact when performed and recorded by Janis Joplin in the late 1960s.

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1966 Big Mama Thornton Vol. 2 with the Chicago Blues Band Big Mama Thornton 1
1966 In Europe Big Mama Thornton 2
1969 Stronger Than Dirt Big Mama Thornton 1
1990 The Original Hound Dog Big Mama Thornton 1
1994 The Rising Sun Collection (2) Big Mama Thornton 1
The Way It Is Big Mama Thornton 1
Vanguard Visionaries - Big Mama Thornton Big Mama Thornton 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1968 Ball n' Chain Big Mama Thornton 1
1975 Sassy Mama Big Mama Thornton 1
1992 Hound Dog: The Peacock Recordings Big Mama Thornton 1
2004 With Muddy Water's Blues Band Big Mama Thornton 1
2005 They Call Me Big Mama Big Mama Thornton 1
Big Mama Swing Big Mama Thornton 1
Big Mama Thornton Blues Big Mama Thornton 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1975 Jail Big Mama Thornton 1
1993 Live at Newport B.B. King, Big Mama Thornton & Muddy Waters 1

Single

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1953 Hound Dog / Nightmare Big Mama Thornton 1

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