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Big Mama Thornton – The Life And Music | Book Review

Big Mama Thornton – The Life and Music
Written by Michael Sporke
McFarland
order line – (800)253-2187
188 pages

by MARK THOMPSON. Even if her career had been limited to just two songs, Big Mama Thornton still would be vital part of blues – and rock – history. She had a major hit with the original version of “Hound Dog,” in 1953 but was eclipsed forever three years later when Elvis Presley blasted through the song on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, creating shock waves that shook the world of music for decades. And when Janis Joplin fronted Big Brother & the Holding Company at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, their slowed-down, smoldering version of Thornton’s “Ball & Chain” mesmerized the audience and quickly was acknowledged as a classic performance. With the first biography on her amazing life, Author Michael Sporke brings focus to the details and highlights of Thornton’s career, starting with her birth in Ariton, Alabama in 1926. One of six siblings, Thornton grew up with a minister father and a stay-at-home mother with serious health issues. She also suffered at the hands of her classmates, who relentlessly teased her for being so tall for her age. When her mother passed away, the thirteen year old couldn’t read or write much but she had learned to play the harmonica by watching her brother, C.W. Thornton. READ MORE