TIL: John Hammond

I don’t know how I managed to avoid learning about John H. Hammond until now. A recent Radiolab episode, Crossroads, introduced him to me.

John Hammond was responsible for discovering and promoting some of the greatest musical talent of the 20th century: Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Bruce Springsteen, among others. He was also responsible for introducing the world to the music of the great blues man Robert Johnson, who was the focus of the Radiolab piece.

On top of that, he was a civil rights pioneer, playing a large role in integrating the music industry.

(Incidentally, he appears to be no relation to Laurens Hammond, the inventor of the Hammond organ.)