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" (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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Singles & EPs

Angel #1 (11-88) Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog / She Belongs To Me album art Big Mama Thornton, Paul & Dale Big Mama Thornton, Paul & Dale - Hound Dog / She Belongs To Me(7", Single, Promo) Angel Records Angel #1 (11-88) US Unknown Sell This Version
45-520 Big Mama Thornton - Ball And Chain Part 1 / Wade In The Water album art Big Mama Thornton And Her Hounddogs (2) Big Mama Thornton And Her Hounddogs (2) - Ball And Chain Part 1 / Wade In The Water(7") Arhoolie Records 45-520 US Unknown Sell This Version

Compilations

Big Mama Thornton -  Ball And Chain album art Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin' Hopkins, Larry Williams (8) Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin' Hopkins, Larry Williams (8) - Ball And Chain (Comp) Arhoolie Records US 1968 Sell This Version
VPC 40001 Big Mama Thornton - Mama's Pride album art Big Mama Thornton Mama's Pride(LP, Comp) Vanguard VPC 40001 UK 1978 Sell This Version
CH 170 Big Mama Thornton - Quit Snoopin' Round My Door album art Big Mama Thornton Quit Snoopin' Round My Door(LP, Comp) Ace CH 170 UK 1986 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - Stronger Than Dirt/The Way It Is album art Big Mama Thornton Stronger Than Dirt/The Way It Is (Comp, Album) Charly Records Europe 1988 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - Ball 'N' Chain album art Big Mama Thornton Ball 'N' Chain (Comp) Arhoolie Records, Arhoolie Records US 1989 Sell This Version
CHAD 277 Big Mama Thornton - You Ole Houn' Dawg album art Big Mama Thornton You Ole Houn' Dawg(LP, Comp, Mono) Ace CHAD 277 Germany 1989 Sell This Version
CDCHD 940 Big Mama Thornton - The Original Hound Dog album art Big Mama Thornton The Original Hound Dog(CD, Comp) Ace CDCHD 940 UK 1990 Sell This Version
MCAC-20641 Big Mama Thornton - They Call Me Big Mama album art Big Mama Thornton They Call Me Big Mama(Cass, Comp) MCA Records MCAC-20641 US 1991 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog - The Peacock Recordings album art Big Mama Thornton Hound Dog - The Peacock Recordings (Comp, Album) MCA Records US 1992 Sell This Version
01249 Big Mama Thornton - "The Big Change" album art Big Mama Thornton "The Big Change"(CD, Comp) Altaya 01249 Spain 1996 Sell This Version
HMNCD 048 Big Mama Thornton - "Hound Dog" The Essential Collection album art Big Mama Thornton "Hound Dog" The Essential Collection(CD, Comp) Half Moon HMNCD 048 UK 1999 Sell This Version
Big Mama Thornton - The Complete Vanguard Recordings album art Big Mama Thornton The Complete Vanguard Recordings (Comp) Vanguard US 2000 Sell This Version
CLASSICS 5088 Big Mama Thornton - The Chronological Big Mama Thornton 1950-1953 album art Big Mama Thornton The Chronological Big Mama Thornton 1950-1953(CD, Comp) Classics (11) CLASSICS 5088 France 2004 Sell This Version
INTRO CD 2078 Big Mama Thornton - A Proper Introduction To... album art Big Mama Thornton A Proper Introduction To...(CD, Album, Comp) Proper Records (2) INTRO CD 2078 UK 2005 Sell This Version
SI 903636 Big Mama Thornton - Blues album art Big Mama Thornton Blues(CD, Comp) Disky SI 903636 Europe 2006 Sell This Version
73170-2 Big Mama Thornton - Vanguard Visionaries album art Big Mama Thornton Vanguard Visionaries(CD, Comp) Vanguard 73170-2 US 2007 Sell This Version
274 2238.39 Big Mama Thornton - The Complete 1950-1961 album art Big Mama Thornton The Complete 1950-1961(2xCD, Comp) Le Chant Du Monde 274 2238.39 France 2013 Sell This Version
263492 Big Mama Thornton - Rock-A-Bye Baby (The 1950-1961 Recordings) album art Big Mama Thornton Rock-A-Bye Baby (The 1950-1961 Recordings)(CD, Comp, RM) Hoodoo Records 263492 Europe 2014 Sell This Version
PRMCD 6212 Big Mama Thornton - The Essential Recordings album art Big Mama Thornton The Essential Recordings(2xCD, Comp) Primo (2) PRMCD 6212 Europe 2017 Sell This Version
JASMCD 3123 Big Mama Thornton - The Story Of My Blues - The Complete Singles A's & B's 1951-1961 album art Big Mama Thornton The Story Of My Blues - The Complete Singles A's & B's 1951-1961(CD, Comp, RM) Jasmine Records JASMCD 3123 Europe 2019 Sell This Version

Miscellaneous

CMS137 Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog album art Pep's Show Boys Ft. Big Mama Thornton Pep's Show Boys Ft. Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog(File, MP3, 320) Cruise Music CMS137 Serbia 2018