9 Black Women of R&B and Blues People May Not Know

HBO recently aired a biographical film about the life of Bessie, a famed blues woman of the early 1920’s. Bessie had a dynamic voice and a dynamic stage presence but many of us didn’t know her name until the film aired a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a list of other blues and R&B beauties worth knowing.


In 1952 Big Mama Thorton originated the song “Hound Dog” that Elvis Presley later remade.

Willie Mae Thornton

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton was born in Ariton, Ala. on December 11, 1926. She was a singer and songwriter, who originated the song “Hound Dog” which Elvis Presley later remade. She even played the harmonica and was a self-taught drummer.

Koko Taylor is known as "Queen of the Blues"

Koko Taylor is known as “Queen of the Blues”

Kok Taylor

Kok Taylor was discovered by Willie Dixon in 1962, shortly after she got her first recording contract. One of her most famous songs is “Voodoo Woman” and she is widely known as the “Queen of the Blues” in music circles.

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