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Beres Hammond

One of the most underappreciated reggae artists of his time, Beres Hammond was something of a throwback during his '90s heyday: a soulful crooner indebted to classic rocksteady and American R&B, one who preferred live instrumentation and wrote much of his own material. Hammond specialized in romantic lovers rock, but he also found time to delve into light dancehall, conscious roots reggae, hip-hop fusion, and straight-up contemporary R&B. He was born Hugh Beresford Hammond on August 28, 1955, in Annotto Bay, in the Jamaican province of St. Mary. Hammond grew up listening to his father's collection of American R&B (Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, etc.) and jazz, and also fell in love with native Jamaican music during the ska and rocksteady eras; his primary influence was Alton Ellis, and he also listened to the likes of Peter Tosh, the Heptones, and Ken Boothe.

Over 1972-1973, Hammond performed successfully in talent competitions, one of which led to his first recording, a soul cover of Ellis' "Wanderer." In 1975, Hammond joined the group Zap Pow as lead singer; they enjoyed a hit single in 1978 with "The System." Meanwhile, Hammond was already exploring the idea of a solo career, cutting his debut album, Soul Reggae, with producer Willie Lindo in 1976. Urged by his label, Aquarius, to pick a song for single release, Hammond instead returned to the studio and cut a new track, the ballad "One Step Ahead." It was a massive chart-topping hit in Jamaica, and so was his second single, 1978's Joe Gibbs-produced "I'm in Love." Hammond left Zap Pow in 1979 to concentrate on his solo career, and initially worked as a session singer to make up for the royalties that were failing to come in. He recorded his second solo album, Just a Man, with Gibbs in 1980, and reunited with Lindo for 1981's Comin' at You.

Hammond subsequently continued his session work, also forming a harmony quintet called Tuesday's Children that never recorded but had some success as a live act. Following the 1985 album Let's Make a Song, he founded his own label, Harmony House, to ensure that he would have an outlet whenever arrangements with other companies fell through. The first two singles, "Groovy Little Thing" and the Willie Lindo-produced "What One Dance Can Do," were both major hits that nodded to the emerging dancehall style, and the latter not only started to break him in the international market, but proved to be his biggest Jamaican hit ever. A self-titled album also appeared in 1986, and he scored another hit with "Settling Down." In 1987, amid his growing notoriety, Hammond was the victim of an armed break-in and robbery; greatly shaken by the ordeal of having been tied up while thieves ransacked his home, he left Jamaica and spent some time in New York with relatives, away from the spotlight.

Reuniting with Willie Lindo in the Big Apple, Hammond set to work on the ballad-heavy Have a Nice Week End, and also teamed with emerging crossover star Maxi Priest for the 1988 duet "How Can We Ease the Pain." In the wake of Hurricane Gilbert, Hammond returned to Jamaica and recorded the tougher Putting Up Resistance with producer Tappa Zukie, which was released in 1989 and spawned a significant hit in the title track and a popular follow-up in "Strange." Hammond made his return permanent in 1990, signing with the Penthouse label and teaming that year with producer Donovan Germain for the enormous dancehall hit "Tempting to Touch." Perhaps his best-known song in the U.K. and U.S., "Tempting to Touch" topped the charts in Jamaica and paved the way for 1992's hit A Love Affair album, which included further hits in "Is This a Sign" and "Respect to You Baby."

Now attracting interest from larger labels, Hammond wrote and recorded prolifically in the '90s, and produced fairly consistent results. Sweetness appeared in 1993 on VP, and 1994 brought In Control, a set on American major Elektra that was geared toward the international market. VP distributed his 1996 Harmony House album Love From a Distance, which made him one of the most popular lovers rock artists around, and Heartbeat handled the 1997 follow-up Getting Stronger. 1998 brought A Day in the Life... on VP, after which Hammond took a few years' break from his frantic recording pace. In the meantime, several compilations were released, including Jet Star's Reggae Max and Forever Yours (the former a hits retrospective, the latter focusing on his lovers rock material). Hammond returned to the studio in 2001 for Music Is Life, which featured a guest spot from rapper Wyclef Jean. Love Has No Boundaries was released in 2004 on VP Records, and included guest spots by Buju Banton and Big Youth, among others. A Moment in Time appeared in 2008 and featured the hit "Picking Up the Pieces." His 2012 effort, One Love, One Life, was split into two discs, one dealing with love while the other focused on social issues. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

R*E*S*P*E*C* T ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! :-)
Big tune and big singer Beres Hammond
Need part 2 of this song.big ups
allen_80
Good vibes!
That's all I can say I feel good
Alberth7939 commented he the best his music seen him 3 time Luv him
Love to see him in person but no one famous comes to Rocky mount nc
Saw him live at Barclays.... d i d not sit down for a second.
Big Chune...Can' t wait 2 go c him on da 29th of this month @ Roy Wilkins Park....GROO V I N G IN THE PARK�������� � ❤️ him!!!!
fellsgallimo r e
DOPE TUNE
Jah live through artist like Beres....... . B i g Tunes my broda
dredout07
No matter the how big the stumbling block, just hold on
There is no music that touch my heart and soul like Beres Hammond's music. He has an amazing talent. I just love him so much.
It don't matter how bad my day is this man music can always mellow me out.
Nice song
One of Jamaica very best at all times, beres love you so much..
Love this man! We are so connected! Every year at hard rock in Orlando we somehow managed to have on the same colors. Lol
ray.kiara
����❤
Nothing short of amazing..... . God bless you and keep making music...
Love Mr.Hammond! *TheVibeIsRi g h t *
The best of all times ♥
cableman2k4
Forever a Beres fanatic
jella4u2
Beres is and will forever be my all time Favorite.
Love mr. Beres always
donforbes242
second to none..
All time favorite!!
This is what pure heartfelt music is. I Love It coming. One Love!
Love his music!!!
Beres and those genius musicians + producers should find greater exposure and success worldwide... I cannot understand?
Love this song I was young girl now I'm a woman love this song!!!
Big ups!!
Walking into a musical setting with any of Beres songs you feel at home no matter where. You are empowered in musical fantasy.
The Dance Hall n Love song Master
OLD SCHOOL TRU 2 DA HEART
Long tyme tune
love his music I can listen to Beres Hammond all day
Love this music always
My fav station hands down!! #BeresHammon d
ndspen
Here's Hammond is the man!!!
Speechless me say ... Beres Hammond all time favorite straight.... 2 4 2 big me say
Big up
nicoleseo22
This will never get old #Classic
tanishacobb
Jamaica's Marvin Gay!
likethis song
Love this fucken show :)
Hands down, the most loved Reggae artist, besides Bob Marley that has ever come along. A Jamaican Luther Vandross....
I love beres music
One of the best!!!!
not enough credit, he is the best at what he does. he lifts me up when I am down
Jasmine. I love. Me. Some. Beres.
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