America gives its Army generals five stars, a family favorite amusement park ride is patented, Dylan plugs in, and Roseanne "sings," all on this day.
1984: Rhythm and blues singer-songwriter Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, dies of heart attack at the age of 57 in Los Angeles, California. She was the first to record the song "Hound Dog" in 1952, which spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts and sold almost two million copies, but was overshadowed by Elvis Presley's version three years later. She wrote "Ball 'n' Chain," which later became a hit for Janis Joplin, "They Call Me Big Mama" and 20 other blues songs, and is an inductee of the Blues Hall of Fame.
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Library of Congress
20th Century Fox via CNN
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Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Stuart C. Wilson, Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for MTV
National Archives and Records Administration
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