Big Mama Thornton

Big Mama Thornton, born on December 11th, 1926 in Ariton, Alabama, was a pioneering artist in the world of funky gospel and R&B music. She gained recognition as the first artist to record "Hound Dog," which became a Number 1 hit on the Billboard R&B chart in 1953. With her powerful vocals and unique style, she left an indelible mark on the music industry.

Coming from a musical background as one of seven children born to a Baptist church minister, Thornton began her singing career at the age of fourteen with the Georgia Hot Harlem Revue. Alongside singing, she also played drums and harmonica. In 1951, she signed her first contract with Peacock Records in Houston.

Throughout her career, Big Mama Thornton showcased her talent at various renowned events such as the Monterey Jazz Festival and San Francisco Blues Festival. Her album "Big Mama Thornton With The Chicago Blues Band" recorded in 1966 solidified her status as an influential blues artist. She wrote twenty-two blues releases during her lifetime.

In spite of facing personal struggles with alcohol abuse that ultimately led to heart and liver complications resulting in her death in Los Angeles in 1984, Big Mama Thornton's legacy lives on. Her contributions were recognized when she was posthumously inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame that same year.


Big Mama Thornton
Product type


Release Date

Most Relevant