Share this: Twitter Facebook Pinterest. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Email Required Name Required Website. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. She died of heart and liver disorders due to her longstanding alcohol abuse.
She had lost pounds kg in a short time as a result of illness, her weight dropping from to 95 pounds —43 kg. Thornton's performances were characterized by her deep, powerful voice and strong sense of self. She was given her nickname, "Big Mama," by Frank Schiffman, the manager of Harlem's Apollo Theater , because of her strong voice, size, and personality. Thornton stated that she was louder than any microphone and did not want a microphone to ever be as loud as she was. Alice Echols , the author of a biography of Janis Joplin, said that Thornton could sing in a "pretty voice" but did not want to.
Thornton said, "My singing comes from my experience My own experience. I taught myself to sing and to blow harmonica and even to play drums by watchin' other people! I can't read music, but I know what I'm singing! I don't sing like nobody but myself. Her style was heavily influenced by gospel music that she listened to growing up at the home of a preacher, though her genre could be described as blues.
That's why when I do a song by Jimmy Reed or somebody, I have my own way of singing it. Because I don't want to be Jimmy Reed, I want to be me. I like to put myself into whatever I'm doin' so I can feel it".
Scholars such as Maureen Mahon have praised Thornton for subverting traditional roles of African-American women. This transgression was an integral part of her performance and stage persona. During her career, Thornton was nominated for the Blues Music Awards six times. Thornton did not receive compensation for her song, but Joplin gave her the recognition she deserved by having Thornton open for her.
Joplin found her singing voice through Thornton, who praised Joplin's version of "Ball 'n' Chain", saying, "That girl feels like I do. The lack of appreciation she received for "Hound Dog" and "Ball 'n' Chain" as they became popular hits is representative of the lack of recognition she received during her career as a whole. Many critics argue that Thornton's lack of recognition in the music industry is a reflection of an era of racial segregation in the United States , both physically and in the music industry.
In , the nonprofit Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, named for Thornton, was founded to offer a musical education to girls from ages eight to eighteen. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. Biography portal. University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved 10 December Dubai: Carlton Books. ISBN Retrieved Big Mama Thornton.
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