Wikipedia : This day (July 25, 1984), in Los Angeles, California, died Willie Mae a.k.a Big Mama Thornton, an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter.
Big Mama Thornton – Panache Report : She was one of the few black artists during the 50’s who wasn’t cheated out of her royalties although she was cheated out of-receiving song credit. White male music executives were terrified of Thornton and she was known to allegedly carry a pistol in her handbag with a pint of booze.
@allmusic : Hound Dog held down the top slot on Billboard’s R&B charts for seven long weeks in 1953. Alas, Elvis Presley’s rocking 1956 cover was even bigger, effectively obscuring Thornton’s chief claim to immortality.
@last.fm : Impressed by her massive size (6 ft, 350+ lb),formidable multi-instrument abilities, and fiery stage presence, Robey signed her to his Peacock Records label, where he began the task of translating the forceful belter’s energy onto record.