Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John Hammond, Jr. elected into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame this month.

From the Foundation's website:

John Henry Hammond Jr. qualifies for any number of Halls of Fame in the music business for his many accomplishments as an A&R man, producer, critic, and promoter. In his role at Columbia Records in New York, he helped introduce such talents as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, and Bruce Springsteen. His blues credentials go deep as well, dating back to 1930s productions with Bessie Smith and Ida Cox, and the promotion of the legendary Spirituals to Swing concerts at Carnegie Hall. Hammond knew enough about blues in 1938 to try to put Robert Johnson on the Carnegie Hall bill – but when he learned that Johnson had just died, he gave Big Bill Broonzy the slot. Decades later, when the folk music boom presented a new opportunity to promote country blues, Hammond saw to it that Columbia released an album of Robert Johnson’s songs in 1961, and Johnson’s influence has been enormous ever since. In the 1980s Hammond found another guitarist who would also impact the trajectory of blues and rock, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Hammond was born on Dec. 15, 1910, in New York City, and died on July 10, 1987. His son, John Paul Hammond, has carved out his own career as a performer on the folk and blues circuits.

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