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" (Peacock 1612), with which she had a Number 1 hit in the Billboard R&B chart in 1953 selling two million copies,. Later the same year she released "They Call Me Big Mama" (Peacock 1621). 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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Albums

Big Mama Thornton - American Folk Blues Festival '65 album art Various Houn' Dog Various - American Folk Blues Festival '65 (Album, Comp) Fontana Germany 1965 Sell This Version
Various Sweet Little Angel and 2 more… Various - John Hammond's Spirituals To Swing 30th Anniversary Concert (1967) (Album) Columbia US 1967 Sell This Version
S 67202 Various Sweet Little Angel and 2 more… Various - John Hammond's Spirituals To Swing 30th Anniversary Concert (1967)(2xLP, Album) Columbia S 67202 Netherlands 1967 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - Vanishing Point (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) album art Various Sing Out For Jesus Various - Vanishing Point (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Album) Amos Records South Africa 1971 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - The 10th American Folk Blues Festival "Blues Giants - Rock Creators"  album art Various Ball In Chain and 1 more… Various - The 10th American Folk Blues Festival "Blues Giants - Rock Creators" (Comp, Album) Atlantic, Stern Musik, Atlantic Germany 1973 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - The Blues... "A Real Summit Meeting" (Recorded Live At Newport In New York) album art Various Ball And Chain and 1 more… Various - The Blues... "A Real Summit Meeting" (Recorded Live At Newport In New York) (Album, Comp) Buddah Records Australia 1973 Sell This Version
L2M-20016 Big Mama Thornton - Sherman & Friends album art Various, Sherman Robertson and Cross Town Blues Band Rooster Blues Various, Sherman Robertson and Cross Town Blues Band - Sherman & Friends(10", Album, Mono) Lunar #2 Recordings L2M-20016 US 1981 Sell This Version
SS-8011 Big Mama Thornton - San Francisco Blues Festival, Vol. 3 album art Various Fo' Day Blues and 2 more… Various - San Francisco Blues Festival, Vol. 3(LP) Solid Smoke Records SS-8011 US 1981 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - Sweet Petunias : Independent Women's Blues, Volume 4 album art Various Stop Hoppin On Me Various - Sweet Petunias : Independent Women's Blues, Volume 4 (Album, Comp) Rosetta Records US 1986 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - The Roots Of Jazz: The Blues Era Volume Two album art Various Early One Mornin' Blues and 1 more… Various - The Roots Of Jazz: The Blues Era Volume Two (Comp) MuWorks Records US 1988 Sell This Version
MLP3-9001 Big Mama Thornton - The Roots Of Jazz: The Blues Era Volume One album art Various Ball N' Chain Various - The Roots Of Jazz: The Blues Era Volume One(LP) MuWorks Records MLP3-9001 US 1988 Sell This Version
SCD-4931 Big Mama Thornton - Best Of The Blues - Live At "Newport In New York" album art Various Little Red Rooster (as and 5 more… Various - Best Of The Blues - Live At "Newport In New York"(CD, Album) Special Music Company, Buddah Records SCD-4931 US 1989 Sell This Version
SMC 4931 Big Mama Thornton - Best Of The The Blues Live At "Newport In New York" album art Various Ball And Chain and 1 more… Various - Best Of The The Blues Live At "Newport In New York"(Cass, Dol) Buddah Records SMC 4931 US 1989 Sell This Version
PRCD 7090 Big Mama Thornton - The R&B Box - 30 Years Of Rhythm & Blues Sampler album art Various Hound Dog Various - The R&B Box - 30 Years Of Rhythm & Blues Sampler(CD, Promo, RM, Smplr) Rhino Records (2) PRCD 7090 US 1994 Sell This Version
SP98013 Big Mama Thornton - Music Favourites - Blues Legends album art Various Little Red Rooster Various - Music Favourites - Blues Legends(CD) Not On Label SP98013 Netherlands 1998 Sell This Version
SE400122 Big Mama Thornton - Bar Room Blues album art Various Little Red Rooster Various - Bar Room Blues(CD, Album) Janda Music SE400122 Australia 1998 Sell This Version
BN241 Big Mama Thornton - Crossroads album art Various Ball And Chain Various - Crossroads(2xCD) Jazz&Blues, Weton-Wesgram BN241 Netherlands 1998 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - The Best Of Blues Classics album art Various Hound Dog Various - The Best Of Blues Classics (Album) 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection 2003 Sell This Version
FDM 36666-9 Big Mama Thornton - Gunsmoke Blues album art Various Hound Dog and 4 more… Various - Gunsmoke Blues(DVD-V, PAL) Dreyfus Jazz FDM 36666-9 France 2004 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - Blues Anthology album art Various Hound Dog Various - Blues Anthology (Album) EMI France 2007 Sell This Version
967-2 Big Mama Thornton - Vanguard Visionaries: Series Sampler album art Various Rock Me Baby Various - Vanguard Visionaries: Series Sampler(CD, Comp, Promo) Vanguard 967-2 US 2007 Sell This Version
OPCD8271 Big Mama Thornton - Nordstrom: The Royal Blues - Celebrating the Queens of Blues and Jazz album art Various They Call Me Big Mama Various - Nordstrom: The Royal Blues - Celebrating the Queens of Blues and Jazz(CD, Album) Universal Music OPCD8271 US 2009 Sell This Version
518 A-D Big Mama Thornton - Hear Me Howling! (Blues, Ballads, & Beyond) album art Various Hound Dog and 2 more… Various - Hear Me Howling! (Blues, Ballads, & Beyond)(4xCD) Arhoolie Records 518 A-D US 2010 Sell This Version
SSRBS005 Big Mama Thornton - Songs For A Lazy Day album art Lusta Bítek Gonna Leave You (Lusta Bítek Mix) Lusta Bítek - Songs For A Lazy Day(19xFile, FLAC, Album) SunSideRec SSRBS005 Hungary 2013
FVTD217 Big Mama Thornton - Ain't Gonna Hush The Queens of Rhythm & Blues album art Various Big Mama's Coming and 3 more… Various - Ain't Gonna Hush The Queens of Rhythm & Blues(3xCD, Mono) Fantastic Voyage FVTD217 UK 2015 Sell This Version