John H. Hammond

Jazz Producer + Talent Scout + Civil Rights Activist
Born Dec 15, 1910

John Henry Hammond II was an American record producer, Civil Rights activist, non-musician and music critic from the 1930s to the early 1980s. In his service as a talent scout, Hammond became one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music.… Read More

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1910 Birth Born in 1910.


1922 12 Years Old Ironically, Hammond notes that the first jazz music that he was exposed to was in London on a trip with his family around 1922. … Read More
1923 13 Years Old In 1923, Hammond graduated from St. Bernard's School at the age of 14. … Read More
1929 19 Years Old In the fall of 1929, Hammond entered Yale University as a member of the class of 1933, where he studied the violin and, later, viola. … Read More


1930 20 Years Old In the fall semester of 1930, Hammond had to withdraw due to a re-occurring case of jaundice. … Read More
1931 21 Years Old 1 More Event
Much to the disappointment of his father, a Yale alum, in 1931, he dropped out of school, for a career in the music industry, first becoming the U.S. correspondent for Melody Maker.
1932 22 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1932, Hammond acquired a nonpaying job on the WEVD radio station as a disc jockey. … Read More
He played a role in organizing Benny Goodman's band, and in persuading him to hire black musicians such as Charlie Christian, Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton. In 1933 he heard the seventeen-year-old Billie Holiday perform in Harlem and arranged for her recording debut, on a Benny Goodman session. … Read More


1940 30 Years Old Early in his career, Hammond focused more on his work than his love life. While he was seen publicly with various women, the relationships were never substantial. However, in 1940 at a Manhattan party, Hammond met Jemison "Jemy" McBride.
1941 31 Years Old 1 More Event
This pre-occupation with social issues was to continue, and in 1941 he was one of the founders of the Council on African Affairs. … Read More
…  They also had four daughters: Emily, Adele, Rachel, and Alice, who married musician Benny Goodman in 1942. … Read More
1943 33 Years Old In November of 1943, Hammond began military training. … Read More
1944 34 Years Old While he was still in basic training, Jemy gave birth to their second child, Douglas, early in 1944. … Read More
1946 36 Years Old In 1946, Hammond was discharged from the military. … Read More
1948 38 Years Old In 1948, Jemy asked Hammond for a divorce. … Read More
1949 39 Years Old Just a year later, in 1949, Hammond met Esme Sarnoff, originally Esme O'Brien, the former wife of NBC chairman Robert W. Sarnoff and a daughter of Mary and Esmond O'Brien. … Read More


1971 61 Years Old Hammond received a Grammy Trustees Award for being credited with co-producing a Bessie Smith reissue in 1971, and in 1986 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. … Read More
1983 73 Years Old …  In 1983, he brought guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan to Columbia and was credited as executive producer on his debut album. … Read More
1985 75 Years Old In 1985, Hammond had his first stroke. … Read More
1987 78 Years Old Hammond died on July 10th, 1987 after a series of strokes. … Read More
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