John Paul Hammond (born November 13, 1942, New York City) is an American blues singer and guitarist. The son of record producer John H. Hammond, he is sometimes referred to as John Hammond, Jr..
Hammond is a son of the famed record producer and talent scout John Henry Hammond, Jr. and his first wife, Jemison McBride, an actress. He is a descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the patriarch of the prominent Vanderbilt family. He has a brother, Jason, and a stepsister, (Esme) Rosita Sarnoff, the daughter of his father's second wife, Esme O'Brien Sarnoff. Hammond's middle name, Paul, is in honor of a friend of his father, the actor Paul Robeson. The younger Hammond was raised by his mother and saw his father only a few times a year while growing up.
He began playing guitar in high school, partially inspired by the album Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall. He attended Antioch College for one year but dropped out to pursue a music career. By the mid-1960s he was touring nationally and living in Greenwich Village. He befriended and recorded with many electric blues musicians in New York, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Hawks (later known as the Band), Dr. John and Duane Allman.
Hammond usually plays acoustically, choosing National Reso-Phonic Guitars, and sings in a barrelhouse style. Since 1962, when he made his debut on Vanguard Records, he has made thirty-four albums. In the 1990s he began recording on the Point Blank Records label. Hammond has earned one Grammy Award and been nominated for four others. He also provided the soundtrack for the 1970 film Little Big Man, starring Dustin Hoffman.
Although critically acclaimed, Hammond has received only moderate commercial success. Nonetheless, he enjoys a strong fan base and has earned respect from John Lee Hooker, Roosevelt Sykes, Duane Allman, Willy Deville, Robbie Robertson, Mike Bloomfield and Charlie Musselwhite, all of whom have contributed their musical talents to his records. In addition, he is the only person who ever had both Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix in his band at the same time, if only for five days in the 1960s, when Hammond played the Gaslight Cafe in New York City. To his regret, they never recorded together. It has been suggested that Hammond deserves some credit for helping boost the Band to wider recognition. He recorded with several members of the Band in 1965 and recommended them to Bob Dylan, with whom they undertook a famed and tumultuous world tour.
Hammond hosted the 1991 UK television documentary The Search for Robert Johnson, detailing the life of the legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson.
Hammond has had a longstanding friendship with the songwriter Tom Waits and has performed Waits' songs on occasion. In 2001, he released Wicked Grin, an album consisting entirely of Waits compositions, with one exception, the traditional spiritual, "I Know I've Been Changed." Waits played guitar and sang backing vocals on the album and was also its producer.
In 2003, he released Ready for Love, produced by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos. It included a Mick Jagger and Keith Richards song, "The Spider and the Fly".
His 2009 album, entitled Rough and Tough, was a 2010 nominee for the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album.
In 2011, Hammond was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame of the Blues Foundation.
Hammond married his first wife, Dana McDevitt, a daughter of John Burke McDevitt, on October 21, 1967. They later divorced.
In 1991, Hammond married his second wife, Marla.
- 1964 Big City Blues (Vanguard)
- 1964 Country Blues (Vanguard)
- 1964 John Hammond (Vanguard)
- 1965 So Many Roads (Vanguard)
- 1967 I Can Tell (Atlantic)
- 1967 Mirrors (Vanguard)
- 1968 Sooner or Later (Water Music)
- 1969 Southern Fried (Water Music)
- 1970 Source Point (Columbia)
- 1970 The Best of John Hammond (Vanguard)
- 1971 Little Big Man (Columbia)
- 1972 I'm Satisfied (Columbia)
- 1975 Can't Beat the Kid (Acadia)
- 1976 John Hammond Solo (Vanguard)
- 1978 Footwork (Vanguard)
- 1979 Hot Tracks with the Nighthawks (Vanguard)
- 1980 Mileage (Rounder)
- 1982 Frogs for Snakes (Rounder)
- 1983 Live (Rounder)
- 1984 Spoonful (Edsel)
- 1988 Nobody but You (Flying Fish)
- 1992 Got Love if You Want It (Charisma)
- 1993 You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover (Vanguard)
- 1994 Trouble No More (Point Blank)
- 1996 Found True Love (Virgin)
- 1998 Long As I Have You (Point Blank/Virgin)
- 2001 Wicked Grin (Point Blank/Virgin)
- 2003 At the Crossroads (Vanguard)
- 2003 Ready for Love (Back Porch)
- 2005 In Your Arms Again (Back Porch)
- 2006 Live in Greece (Dynamic)
- 2007 Push Comes to Shove (Back Porch)
- 2009 Rough & Tough (Chesky)
- 2014 Timeless (Palmetto)