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Record of the Day - 07/13/2022

Big Mama Thornton - Stronger Than Dirt

“Hound Dog” may be one of the most covered songs in music history. Most notable of course is Elvis Presley’s version which you’ve likely heard roughly a million times. But it was originally written specifically for Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller when they were only teenagers. Her version was already a pretty big hit on the R&B charts before Elvis made the song huge, but she claims to have only gotten a $500 royalty check. Not only was she an amazing singer, she was also a songwriter. “Ball and Chain” - known best for Janis Joplin’s version - was written and first performed by her. Thanks to Janis and many of her contemporaries who worshipped old blues, there was renewed interest in Big Mama Thornton when she released “Stronger Than Dirt” - our Record of the Day - in 1969. It ended up being her most successful album, one that showcases the incredible power and subtlety in her voice. It finally gave her at least some of the attention that she deserved. It is an absolute gem.

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