Posted by themusicsover on July 10, 2010
John H. Hammond
December 15, 1910 – July 10, 1987
John Hammond was one of the most influential men in the music business during the 20th century. Whether as a producer or talent scout, Hammond was instruental in the success of many of the names in music. That list includes Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pete Seeger, Aretha Franklin, and Count Basie. Hammond began his career in the early ’30s, mostly working with jazz artists, primarily helping African American musicians like Lionel Hampton and Charlie Christian land gigs in previously all-white bands. In 1938, Hammond put together the first of the groundbreaking From Spirituals To Swing concerts that included the biggest names in jazz, blues and gospel. Taking place at Carnegie Hall, it was reportedly the first significant concert by a racially mixed group of performers in front of a racially mixed audience. The albums documenting the shows are now considered American music classics and a box set was released in 1999 thanks in part to Morgana Kennedy at Vanguard Records. In the early ’60s, Hammond was hired by Columbia Records where he signed Springsteen, Dylan, Seeger, Aretha and many others. John Hammond passed away after a stroke at the age of 76.