John Hammond – The Producer

From Wikipedia “Hammond was instrumental in sparking or furthering numerous musical careers, including those of Bob DylanBruce SpringsteenBenny GoodmanHarry JamesCharlie ChristianBillie HolidayCount BasieTeddy WilsonBig Joe TurnerPete SeegerBabatunde OlatunjiAretha FranklinGeorge BensonFreddie GreenLeonard CohenArthur RussellJim CoppAsha PuthliStevie Ray Vaughan and Mike Bloomfield. He is also largely responsible for the revival of delta blues artist Robert Johnson‘s music.”

Wow that’s quite a list. Several of my favorite musicians whose careers took off with John Hammond’s assistance, To think where we’d be without him. Also father to John P. Hammond and awesome performer in his own right. I think I owe this John Hammond (Senior) a world of thanks.

In Bob Dylan’s Chronicles Volume 1 Dylan explains how John Hammond loaned him a record, Robert Johnson – King of the Delta Blues. Dylan analyzed and obsessed over Robert Johnson’s songs for a period of time. Columbia had acquired the Robert Johnson recordings through an acquisition and it was Hamond’s decision to re-release them. That’s what I’d call a two-for as in two for one. Inspiring Dylan and providing the world the opportunity to hear Robert Johnson.

The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music is a great book about John Hammond. So many great contributions to our world of music. The tales seem endless from re-releasing Robert Johnson recordings to bringing Springsteen in under the guise of recording and acoustic album but releasing Greetings from Ashbury Park NJ and everything in between including Benny Goodman to Bessie Smith. Also there were the “From Spirituals to Swing” concerts presenting African-American music from early spirituals through to blues, jazz and swing. This did more than preserve and promote the music. With its racially integrated cast and audience it demonstrated a progressive understanding of and promotion of equality. What an incredible story.