Her mother passed away when she was only 14 years old.
After willies mom passed, in order to help her family financially, i had to get a job.
A music producer named Sammy Green discovered Willie and recruited her his Atlanta based Hot Harlem revue. And in 1954, she moved to texas, determined to further her singing carreer.
In 1951, she signed a contract with peacock records, which was her first record deal.
One year later, she recorded a song called ‘’Hound dog’’ which was her biggest hit. Both johnny Otis, (the producer of the track) and the songwriter team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, have claimed credit for the song. ‘’Hound dog’’ reached number one in R&B charts, making Thornton a star.
She died of a heart attack on July 25, 1984 in Los Angeles California. She was only 57 years old, many famous blues singers and her first contracter, Johnny Otis, attended her funeral. After Thorntons funeral, Johnny Otis became a minister. In 1984, Willie Thornton was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame. Her song ‘’Ball and Chain’’ is featured in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame list of ‘’500 songs that shaped rock and roll’’.