Friday, May 1, 2015

W is for Willie Mae Thornton & Wicked Wisdom

Willie Mae Thornton or better known by her nickname "Big Mama Thornton" is an American Blues Singer and Songwriter; born on December 11, 1926.  She was one of the pioneering figures of Blues and was heavily instrumental in the development of Rock n' Roll. At a young age she had already been exposed to music due to her father being a minister and her singing in the choir for most of her upbringing.
   While working in a saloon she was discovered by a music promoter named Sammy Green who asked her to join his group the Hot Harlem Revue in Atlana, GA. She performed with the group for seven years before she moved to Houston, Texas to further pursue her career. She got her big break in 1951 when she signed with Peacock Records. She went on to record her first single  Hound Dog which reached the number one spot on the R&B charts in 1953 making Thornton an instant star. During this time, white artist were notorious for covering black artist's song and because of the racial tensions of the time many people didn't want to hear songs from black artist unless they were covered by white artist; these records were referred to as "race records". Elvis Presley covered the song and it also was hit for him, he received recognition and compensation for it, however, Thornton didn't and for most of her career this would be the case, as well as for many artist of the time. Thornton went on tour Europe and continued to release more records but none were as successful as first single.
    During the mid 60s, the love for folk and blues music is what brought Thornton back into the limelight,when yet again another artist covered her work. This artist was Janis Joplin, however the difference now was that Thornton began to receive her due recognition. When she signed to Mercury Records she was able to release her most successful album in 1969. Thornton lived hard and played hard, she was known for her raunchy lyrics and for having a taste for dressing men's clothing. She passed away on July 25 in 1984 due to a heart attack, she was 57 years old. Even with her passing she continued to receive recognition when in 1984 she inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and her song Ball and Chain was featured on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".

Wicked Wisdom is an American "nu" metal band from Los Angeles formed by famed actress Jada Pinkett Smith in 2002. According to Jada Pinkett Smith, she grew up listening to heavy metal. Some of her most favorite metal bands were Metallica, Guns N' Roses and Axl Rose to name a few. As she became fans of these bands, she often wondered why women were not doing the same; thus the reason she went on to front her own band. The band is comprised Jada leading on vocals, Pocket Honore on guitar and vocals, Cameron "Wirm" Graves on guitar, keyboard, and vocals, Rio Lawrence on bass and vocals and Philip "Fish" Fisher on drums (a former member of Fishbone). 
     The band got it's start by landing a gig with Britney Spears' Onyx Hotel Tour in Europe in 2004, where they promoted their debut album titled My Story. The band initially had trouble being taken seriously as a metal band, many times they were met with booing and because Pinkett Smith was an actress, many believed that she was a poser and was given handouts because of her status as a well known actress and also because the band had secured a spot to perform at the 2005 Ozzfest  and fans of the festival were outraged that this unknown band would be allowed to play at the festival.
  After several not so good performances the fans of the festival began to warm up to the band and finally realize that both Jada and the band were very serious about their music and that despite the minor setbacks they had endured they were here to stay. The band released their second album on Feburary 21st in 2006 through Pinkett Smith's own production company 100% Women and Suburban Noze Records, the band landed at the #44 spot in 2006. The band's last song to be released was in 2013 titled Stuck  to which they also released a music video on YouTube. The band has not released any new music; there is also no current news on the band, however, their main website and social media pages are still active so if you'd like to keep up with them visit the links below.

No comments:

Post a Comment