As Lieber told Rolling Stone Magazine: “We saw Big Mama, and she knocked me out. She looked like the biggest, baddest, saltiest chick you’d ever seen. And she was mean…She must have weighed 350 pounds, and had these scars all over her face.”

They didn’t waste any time either. With their “muse” in mind, Lieber and Stoller wrote the song the first day they met her…in about 12 minutes. She released it in 1953, and it held the top spot on Billboard for 7 weeks.

Big Mama Thornton wrote and recorded a tune that would prove to be a huge hit for a 60’s icon. Which one?

Ball And Chain, which Janis Joplin performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in ’67.  Click here to see the clip of Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company.  Watch another Big Mama, (Cass) get knocked for a loop in the last minute or so.