Benny Goodman - John Hammond and Alice Goodman

John Hammond and Alice Goodman

One of Benny Goodman's closest friends off and on, from the 1930s onward was celebrated Columbia records producer John H. Hammond, who influenced Goodman's move from RCA to the newly created Columbia records in 1939.

Benny Goodman dated John H. Hammond's sister Alice Frances Hammond (1913–1978) for three months. She had previously been married to British politician George Duckworth, from whom she obtained a divorce. She and Goodman married on March 14, 1942. They had two daughters, Benjie and Rachel.

Both daughters studied music, though neither became the musical prodigy Goodman was.

Hammond had encouraged Goodman to integrate his band, persuading him to employ pianist Teddy Wilson. But Hammond's tendency to interfere in the musical affairs of Goodman's and other bands led to Goodman pulling away from him. In 1953 they had another falling-out during Goodman's ill-fated tour with Louis Armstrong, which was produced by John Hammond.

Goodman appeared on a 1975 PBS salute to Hammond but remained at a distance. In the 1980s, following the death of Alice Goodman, John Hammond and Benny Goodman, both by then elderly, reconciled. On June 25, 1985, Goodman appeared at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City for "A Tribute to John Hammond".

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