Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton is best known for being the first person to record the song Hound Dog. Thornton had been given the name "Big Mama" from the manager of Harlem's Apollo Theatre, where she was a performer after signing a recording contract with Peacock Records in 1951. Hound Dog was written for her by teenage songwriters Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller in 1952. The recording was to be produced by Johnny Otis, but the session drummer was't working out so Leiber & Stoller took over the session and replaced the drummer with Otis. This was the first recording that was produced by the songwriting duo. Hound Dog made a star out of Thornton, hitting number one on the charts in 1953, however she saw very little of the songs profits. In 1956 Elvis Presley recorded the song, and had an even bigger hit. However, Leiber and Stoller hated the Elvis version, they felt like he ruined their song that was lyrically meant for a woman to sing.
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