John A. Hammond

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John A. Hammond (December 15, 1910 - July 10, 1987) was a record producer, musician and music critic from the 1930s to the early 1980s.

Born to great wealth in a branch of the Vanderbilt family in New York City, Hammond began patronizing jazz clubs at an early age, entering the record business in 1933, discovering Billie Holiday and producing Bessie Smith. He also played a role in organizing Benny Goodman's first band (and later brought him Charlie Christian), and, while listening to the radio, discovered Count Basie's orchestra and personally brought them to the East Coast and national attention.

Always champion of swing, Hammond was cold to the development of bebop jazz, and turned his attention more exclusively to blues and folk music.

John Hammond served in the United States Army during World War Two. He was responsible for discovering and developing artists such as Benny Goodman, Meade Lux Lewis, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Big Joe Turner, Pete Seeger, Babatunde Olatunji, George Benson, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughan, mostly for Columbia Records.

In 1938, Hammond wanted to record delta blues legend Robert Johnson, but Johnson had died before Hammond could contact him. On their very first albums for Columbia, Dylan and Springsteen were dubbed follies only to become two of the label's biggest selling artists.

He received a Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in 1971.

His son, John P. Hammond is a blues singer and guitarist.

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