John Hammond was responsible for discovering Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Pete Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen, among others. As a producer, writer, critic, and board member of the
NAACP, he was credited as a major force in integrating the music business. An early inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame, John Hammond was one of the most important figures in 20th century popular music.
I did not sign with Mr. Hammond nor Columbia
or the Italian part of the music business. I continued picking up abalone pieces on the beach and street singing to the homeless
as well as doing the Gospel ministry God had provided. I had a contract all right, for life. One that was written and
recorded in heaven, a long time ago, before I was in my mama's womb.