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This was written and originally recorded by a blues singer named Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, who recorded the original version of "Hound Dog
." The ball and chain is an image associated with prisoners, as a weighted ball attached to a chain would be shackled to an inmate's leg to keep him from escaping. In this song, Thornton relates the image to her man, who is keeping her down.
Joplin's interpretation of this song solidified her reputation as an incredibly soulful performer who can handle the gnarliest of the Blues. A staple of her live performances, she sang it at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and also at Woodstock. She recorded the song in 1968 with her band Big Brother and the Holding Company, and after her death in 1971, the song appeared on many of her compilation albums. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Mike Love of The Beach Boys
The lead singer/lyricist of The Beach Boys talks about coming up with the words for "Good Vibrations," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Kokomo" and other classic songs.
Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.
Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.