Today my daughter asked me who started rock and roll music. Her friends at school said it was a cross between Blues and Country.
It began with BIG MAMA THORNTON
Born Willie Mae Thornton, December 11, 1926,
in Montgomery, AL; died of a heart attack,
July 25, 1984, in Los Angeles, CA.
Earning the nickname "Big Mama" because of her broad girth, Willie Mae Thornton continued the tradition of the great female blues singers who made their mark a few decades before their heyday. She was a popular performer on the rhythm-and-blues circuit from the 1950s until her death in 1984 and is best-known for "Ball and Chain," a composition of her own that was also a hit for Janis Joplin. "Her booming voice, sometimes 200-pound frame, and exuberant stage manner had audiences stomping their feet and shouting encouragement in R&B theaters from coast to coast from the early 1950s on," remarked Irwin Stambler in the Encyclopedia of Pop Rock & Soul.