Though Willie Mae Thornton, better known as “Big Mama Thornton,” was born in Montgomery, Alabama, it was in Houston that her career took off.
When the blues singer moved to Houston, she caught the eye of Don Robey, the owner of Peacock Records and the newly-opened Bronze Peacock Club. Thornton also caught the attention of songwriters Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber, who wrote Hound Dog specifically for her.
Thornton recorded the hit song with Johnny Otis and his orchestra in 1952. Four years later, Elvis Presley recorded his own version, which would later be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
– Jacqueline Gualtieri, The Houston 100