Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rockobit: Ronnie Hammond

In something of a grim week for musical check-outs, Ronnie Hammond, singer with the Atlanta Rhythm Section, has died.

Hammond benefited from being in the right place at the right time: when Buddie Buie, the impressario behind ARS needed a replacement for lead singer Rodney Justo, Hammond was working at a recording studio and had impressed Buie with his fill-in voice.

He would remain with the band through fifteen albums and a gig at the White House for Jimmy Carter's son before quitting in the early 1980s - he went off to try some solo material and was replaced by Justo. The Rhythm Section wound down, a slump which would continue until 1989 and Hammond's return.

The band continued to release music and tour with various line-ups during the 90s, while Hammond entered something of a personal slump. Suffering from alcoholism and depression, he managed to get in an argument with cops. He attempted to attack a policeman with a guitar. The policeman had a gun. You can tell how it would end.

Luckily, the serious injuries were a bottoming out, rather than a full stop. Hammond returned to health, and performing; the Rhythm Section rolled on - although, eventually, without Hammond.

Ronald Hammond died Monday from heart failure; he was 60.


Anonymous said...

Hi !

I am a fan of ARS & I am glad to see your post ! Just a couple things tho. Justo's first name is Rodney.And Andy Anderson has been the ARS lead singer for years.

simon h b said...

Thanks for that - one was a typo, the other was just genuine ignorance (trying to pull this together in a hurry I couldn't find any clear indication of when/if Hammond stepped down as singer.)

Anonymous said...

The article is correct. Justo did replace Hammond when he left ARS in the early 1980s. Justo has sung with the band a few times since as well. Andy Anderson joined briefly in the 1980s and then again as a sub for Hammond in 1999. Anderson joined on a permanent basis in 2001.

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