Hammond usually plays acoustically 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. His 1963 debut album, John Hammond was one of the first blues albums by a white artist. 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.
“…a blues legend with a voice like Robert Johnson’s and a demeanor that belies his tear-it-up might before an audience…” – The New York Times