Big Momma Thornton

Big Momma Thornton

The woman who never really received the credit she deserved


If talent is measured by the number of times that a musicians songs are covered by other bands the Big Momma Thornton was certainly a success. She has had numerous songs covered, the song that gained the most success is Hound dog which was covered by Elvis Presley. In actuality Hound Dog has been remade numerous times, though I would have to say that no one sang it with the same feeling as Big Momma Thornton did.

Big Momma Thornton was an incredibly talented blues musician that never really received the credit that she deserved. Her first introduction to music came from the church where her father ministered. Though this woman was bigger than gospel and therefore followed her music wherever it took her. She toured and played with many greats such as Johnny Otis and Sammy Green's Hot Harlem Revue.

Sadly she quit touring as blues interest slowed other than a few live performances in the San Francisco bay Area. When I sit and listen to her deep voice I often wonder why she never really gained the recognition that she deserved. Upon contemplation I am often reminded of the differences that she would’ve faced compared to musicians today. She was a large woman who did what she wanted when she wanted. She didn’t listen to the wishes of male producers, she was responsible for herself and she certainly wasn’t going to bow down for any man. Today that would be seen as a sign of strength and even beauty though in her time it was most likely seen as a sign of contempt and disrespect, two things that a women wasn’t supposed to display. Though I may never know, I believe it was her strength and her time that kept this women from gaining the success that she so wholeheartedly deserved.