Steve Kline Ages of Rock
1926: Willie Mae (Big Mama) Thornton is born in Montgomery, Alabama. Her father is a minister and her mother sings for the church. Thornton and her six siblings grow up surrounded by beautiful music. Big Mama records her hit Hound Dog in 1952 — it spends seven weeks atop the R&B chart. Of course, Elvis has a hit with his cover a few years later. He’s good. But he can’t touch Big Mama.