John Hammond in Blues Music History
John Hammond (1910-1987) was arguably one of the most important figures in American popular music in the twentieth century and was certainly among the most important early white fans of the blues. He looms particularly large in the story of Robert Johnson, whose posthumous fame he did much to promote. After hearing Johnson's music in the mid-1930s, Hammond went on to champion Johnson's work at a New York concert in 1938, and then pushed to have Johnson's songs collected on an LP when the folk and blues revival hit in the late 1950s and '60s.
Hammond was a hugely successful record producer and talent scout, but perhaps more importantly for this story is that he was in some ways a precursor of the young, white, intellectually engaged fans that would "rediscover" blues in the 1960s.