Hammond organ  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Hammond organ is an electric organ first manufactured in 1935. Jimmy Smith's use of the Hammond B-3, with its additional harmonic percussion feature, inspired a generation of organ players, and its use became more widespread in the 1960s and 1970s in rhythm and blues, rock and reggae, as well as being an important instrument in progressive rock.

Pop culture

The sound of the Hammond B-3 organ can be heard in 1960s surf music, where the spinning Leslie speaker created distinctive special effects. The Hammond sound was also a key part of the mystical soundscape of the 1967 Procol Harum song, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" , in Steve Winwood's soaring, animal-like "Gimme Some Lovin'" with Spencer Davis Group, and in the Bach-like introductory measures played by organist Matthew Fisher (who actually played an M-102 on the famous recording). Except for a few months in late 1976 and early 1977, Procol Harum has always (and still does after 40 years) appeared in concert with a Hammond.

Hammond organs are also widely used in 1970s progressive rock music bands such as Pink Floyd's Rick Wright (First on a Hammond M-100, and later on a C-3); Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Keith Emerson; Genesis's Tony Banks (a Hammond L-122 and later a Hammond T-102); and Yes' Rick Wakeman. It also sparked the interest of the keyboard players in early heavy metal bands such as Deep Purple's Jon Lord, Uriah Heep's Ken Hensley, and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.

In several sketches by Monty Python's Flying Circus Terry Gilliam plays a nude organist who provides a fanfare on a Hammond L-100 in "Blackmail" and "Crackpot Religions Ltd." as well as Terry Jones for the opening scenes on the third season. The British adult comic Viz had (or has) an occasional strip featuring 'Captain Morgan and his Hammond organ'. The strip's plot usually revolves around the crew sighting a treasure ship or similar lucrative opportunity, which they then miss due to the eponymous captain insisting on first spending some time serenading them with a selection of tunes played on said organ.

The fictional character Arnold Rimmer (from the BBC TV science fiction-comedy series Red Dwarf) is a big fan of Hammond organ music. He is particularly fond of an artist by the name of Reggie Wilson (a satirical reference to Reginald Dixon), whose Hammond organ albums include "Lift Music Classics" (in British English, a "lift" is an elevator) and "Funking up Wagner". Rimmer has also taught the Skutters to play the Hammond organ, and on the series, every Wednesday night is "Amateur Hammond Organ Recital Night". None of the other crew of the Red Dwarf spaceship particularly enjoy Rimmer's taste in music.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hammond organ" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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