Big Mama Thornton

Big Mama Thornton

Real Name:
Willa Mae Thornton
Profile:
Born 11th December 1926, Montgomery, Alabama, USA
Died 25th July 1984, Los Angeles, California, USA

Thornton was the first artist to record "Hound Dog", with which she had a Number 1 hit in the Billboard R&B chart in 1952. On the flipside of the single was "They Call Me Big Mama". Selling two million copies, this release helped immortalize her nickname in the world of funky gospel and R&B music. She also wrote and recorded "Ball And Chain", which gained Janis Joplin attention in the late 1960s.

One of seven children, born to a Baptist church minister, she began singing and touring the South with the Georgia Hot Harlem Revue at the age of fourteen. She also played drums and harmonica and signed her first contract in Houston with Peacock Records in 1951.

In the latter part of her career Thornton appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966 & 1968, and the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1979. In 1966 she recorded the album Big Mama Thornton With The Chicago Blues Band on the Arhoolie label. She wrote a total of twenty-two blues releases and her first name "Willa Mae" is often credited as "Willie Mae".

Thornton died in Los Angeles in 1984 of heart and liver complications, compounded by years of alcohol abuse. It was the same year that she was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame.
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Big Mama Thornton Discography

Albums

F 1028 Big Mama Thornton In Europe (Album) Arhoolie Records F 1028 US 1966 Sell This Version
F 1032 Big Mama Thornton With Muddy Waters Blues Band Big Mama Thornton With Muddy Waters Blues Band - Big Mama Thornton And The Chicago Blues Band (Album) Arhoolie Records F 1032 US 1966 Sell This Version
134.234 MCY Big Mama Thornton Stronger Than Dirt (Album) Mercury 134.234 MCY France 1969 Sell This Version
SR 61249 Big Mama Thornton The Way It Is (Album) Mercury SR 61249 US 1969 Sell This Version
PE 10005, PE 10,005 Big Mama Thornton Saved Pentagram, Pentagram, Pentagram PE 10005, PE 10,005 US 1971 Sell This Version
PA-9723 T. Honda* + Mama T.* T. Honda* + Mama T.* - Misty(LP, Album) Trio Records PA-9723 Japan 1972 Sell This Version
VSD 79354 Big Mama Thornton Sassy Mama! (Album) Vanguard VSD 79354 US 1975 Sell This Version
VSD 79351 Big Mama Thornton Jail (Album) Vanguard VSD 79351 US 1975 Sell This Version
F 1032 Big Mama Thornton With Muddy Waters Blues Band Big Mama Thornton With Muddy Waters Blues Band - Big Mama Thornton Vol. 2(LP, Album) Arhoolie Records F 1032 US 1975 Sell This Version
BLP-68 Big Mama Thornton She's Back (Album) MCA Records BLP-68 US 1977 Sell This Version
VPC 40001 Big Mama Thornton Mama's Pride(LP, Album) Vanguard VPC 40001 UK 1978 Sell This Version
QS 5022 Muddy Waters / Big Mama Thornton / B.B. King Muddy Waters / Big Mama Thornton / B.B. King - Live At Newport (Comp) Intermedia Records QS 5022 US 1982 Sell This Version
92023 Big Mama Thornton Jail(CD, Album) Vanguard, Carrere 92023 France 1987 Sell This Version
PCD-2518 Big Mama Thornton & The Chicago All Stars In Europe With Muddy Waters Blues Band Big Mama Thornton & The Chicago All Stars In Europe With Muddy Waters Blues Band - In Europe(CD, Album) Arhoolie Records, P-Vine Records PCD-2518 Japan 1989 Sell This Version
RSCD 0002 Big Mama Thornton The Rising Sun Collection (Album) Just A Memory RSCD 0002 Canada 1994 Sell This Version
CC-1104 Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier - Live & Together(LP, Album) Crazy Cajun CC-1104 US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

1587 Willie Mae Thornton*, Bill Harvey's Band Willie Mae Thornton*, Bill Harvey's Band - No Jody For Me / Let Your Tears Fall Baby(Shellac, 10") Peacock Records 1587 US 1951 Sell This Version
5-1612 Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton* Hound Dog / Rock A Bye Baby (Single) Peacock Records 5-1612 US 1953 Sell This Version
5-1612 Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton* Hound Dog / Night Mare (Single) Peacock Records 5-1612 US 1953 Sell This Version
118 Johnny Ace And Band* / Johnny Ace And Willie Mae Thornton* Johnny Ace And Band* / Johnny Ace And Willie Mae Thornton* - Saving My Love For You / Yes, Baby(Shellac, 10") Duke 118 US 1953 Sell This Version
5-1654 Willie Mae Thornton* And Elroy Peace / Willie Mae Thornton* Willie Mae Thornton* And Elroy Peace / Willie Mae Thornton* - Tarzan And The Dignified Monkey / How Come(7", Single) Peacock Records 5-1654 US 1955 Sell This Version
5-1650 Willie M. Thornton* The Fish / Laugh, Laugh, Laugh(7", Single) Peacock Records 5-1650 US 1955 Sell This Version
WI 345 Willie Mae Thornton* Tom Cat / Monkey In The Barn (Single) Sotoplay, Sotoplay WI 345 UK 1965 Sell This Version
K 424X45 Big Mama Thornton Before Day / Me And My Chauffeur(7", Single) Kent K 424X45 US 1965 Sell This Version
72981 Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton* Hound Dog / Let's Go Get Stoned(7", Single) Mercury 72981 US 1969 Sell This Version