John Hammond

One of swing music's greatest propagandists, John Hammond was responsible at least partiallly for discovering a remarkable list of musicians through the years including Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Charlie Christian, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. Although these artists would certainly have made it on their own, Hammond's intervention made their rise to fame swifter. As a masterful talent scout, producer, promoter, and an early fighter against racism, Hammond could be a bit dominant and overly forceful in his viewpoints, but time has found him to have been generally spot-on and well-intentioned.

Although born into a wealthy family and educated at Yale, Hammond had a great love for Black music almost from the start. As early as 1933 (when he was 22), he was active in the music business, discovering Billie Holiday and getting her into the recording...

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