John Hammond died on this day in 1987.
JH was one of those people who were enormously influencial but often overlooked. Often given credit where it was not deserved but denied the credit that was due to him.
John Hammond was a record producer rather than a talent scout. Back in the early ’30s he was writing about the racial divide in the USA and ridiculing it using jazz as the vehicle for this line of reasoning. He was instrumental in promoting Billie Holiday, arranging her first recording debut, she appeared on a Benny Goodman session. Later he also championed the Count Basie orchestra.
For those two instances he deserves to be remembered. However along with promoting blues music and musicians he did one other thing that makes him one of the most important people in popular music development.
He oversaw and championed (but did not produce as many think) “King of the Delta Blues Singers” released in 1961 this was a rerelease of all the recordings made by Robert Johnson. This is possibly one of the 5 most influencial records ever released.