Happy Hammond Day!
There are not many “new” instruments. Many of the main instruments of popular music have been around for centuries: piano, guitar, strings, drums, brass, etc. A noted music historian observed that there are really only three “new” instruments to arise in the 20th century and gain popularity: the electric bass, the electric synthesizer, and the electric organ, and my man Larry Hammond invented TWO of them. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t carry a tune or play a lick.
That’s right. Today is the birthday of Laurens Hammond (b. 1895), the inventor of (among other things) the synchronous electric clock, 3D glasses, the first polyphonic synthesizer (the Novachord), guided missile technology, and, most gloriously, the Hammond Organ.
The Hammond Organ is perfect. It is everything a keyboard instrument should be: wide dynamic range, variable tonal palate, reliable, and inspiring as an artist. Go ahead — climb up on the bench behind a 350 lb B3 and try not to be excited. His organ design was so perfect that it really only gained incremental changes from its introduction in 1935 all the way until 1975, when Hammond stopped making Larry’s amazing “tonewheel” organs.
The COALROOM is currently in possession of eight Hammond Organs. In chronological order: a 1954 C2, a 1954 B2, a 1956 C3 + Leslie 122, a 1963 M3, a 1965 A102 + Leslie 251, a 1965 F100 “Extravoice”, and a 1967 L100.
Not only do I love Laurens Hammond for creating the most amazing and versatile instrument on the planet, but he was heralded as a great boss who was good to his people. He refused air conditioning in his office, for example, when he found out they couldn’t afford to install it on the factory floor for all his workers. Solidarity. On point, Larry.
I could go on. Lord, could I go on. Instead, please take a break from your Monday and honor Larry’s memory with these fine people KILLIN’ IT at one of his organs. Happy Hammond Day!
First a solid little intro video from 2006:
Still here? Good for you. Enjoy: