|Birth name||Roy Charles Hammond|
August 3, 1939 |
Newington, Georgia, United States
Roy Charles Hammond (born on August 3, 1939), better known as Roy "C", is an American southern soul singer, songwriter and record executive, best known for his 1965 hit, "Shotgun Wedding". Another song, "Impeach the President", which he recorded and produced with a high school group, the Honey Drippers, has had one of the most sampled drum tracks in hip hop music.
Hammond was born in Newington, Georgia. He began singing tenor with The Genies, a vocal group in Long Beach, Long Island, who were offered a recording contract by the record producer, Bob Shad. Their first single, "Who's That Knockin'", reached #72 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1958, with Claude Johnson (later of the duo Don and Juan) on lead vocal. The group then moved to Atlantic Records, with Hammond taking over as lead singer, but their recordings were not released, and he was drafted into the Air Force.
Solo career and record labels
When he returned to New York in 1965, Hammond organised a studio session to record his own song, "Shotgun Wedding", and released it under the name of Roy Hammond on his own Hammond label, before leasing it to the larger Black Hawk Records under the name Roy C. The record, with its novelty ricochet opening and relatively risqué subject matter for the time, reached #14 on the national R&B chart. It had even greater success when issued in the UK, reaching #6 on the UK Singles Chart in 1966 and #8 when reissued in 1972. His first album was That Shotgun Wedding Man (1966) on Ember Records. Ironically, the multiple sound effects used are not those of a shot-gun blast, but rather of ricochet bullets from a rifle or pistol.
After some unsuccessful follow-ups on the Shout label, Hammond started another new label, Alaga. Working with guitarist J. Hines, he had more success with "Got To Get Enough (Of Your Sweet Love Stuff)" making the R&B charts in 1971. Two years later he signed with Mercury Records, and had another R&B hit with "Don't Blame The Man". He also released an album, Sex and Soul, and several more minor hit singles. He stayed with Mercury for several years, until label bosses took exception to his outspoken political stance in songs, like "Great Great Grandson of A Slave", from his 1977 album More Sex and More Soul.
The Honey Drippers and "Impeach the President"
In 1973, Hammond discovered a group of African-American high school students from Jamaica High School in Jamaica, Queens, named the Honey Drippers, and decided to record some songs with them, which he released on his Alaga label. Most notable among the songs they recorded was "Impeach the President", a song advocating for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon due to the then-ongoing Watergate scandal.
Pioneering hip hop producer Marley Marl used the drum intro from "Impeach the President" as the breakbeat - and what may have been the first ever breakbeat - for the 1985 song "The Bridge" by MC Shan. The drum intro has since become one of the most widely-used samples in hip hop. A partial list of songs that have sampled it includes:
- "Move the Crowd (Democratic 3 Beatmix)" by Eric B. & Rakim (1987)
- "I Got an Attitude" by Antoinette (1987)
- "Top Billin'" by Audio Two (1987)
- "Be Yourself" by Whodini and Millie Jackson (1987)
- "Tuff Is in the House" by Tuff Crew (1987)
- "Dana Dane with Fame" by Dana Dane (1987)
- "(You Ain't Just a Fool) You's an Old Fool" by Spoonie Gee
- "Gangsta Gangsta by N.W.A (1988)
- "Braggin' & Boastin'" by Jungle Brothers (1988)
- "10% Dis" by MC Lyte and Audio Two (1988)
- "As We Go" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (1988)
- "My Buddy" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (1988)
- "Let's Dance" by King Tee (1988)
- "Words of a Freestyle" by MC Shan
- "Def Jeff" by The Almighty RSO
- "Eazy-Duz-It" by Eazy-E (1989)
- "Smooth Operator by Big Daddy Kane (1989)
- "Double Huey Skit" by De La Soul
- "Jazzie's Groove" by Soul II Soul (1989)
- "We Rock the Mic Right" by Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I. (1989)
- "Total Kaos" by EPMD (1989)
- "Funky for You" by Nice & Smooth (1989)
- "Lights Out, Party's Over" by Antoinette
- "Feelin' Kinda Horny" by Roxanne Shanté
- "Mind Blowin'" by The D.O.C. (1989)
- "How Ya Livin'" by Low Profile (1989)
- "Spread My Wings (Clark Kent Remix)" by Troop & Fearless Four (1990)
- "Kamurshol" by N.W.A (1990)
- "What's the Word" by Chubb Rock (1990)
- "Around the Way Girl" by LL Cool J (1990)
- "Rockin' to the P.M." by Raw Fusion on the album Live from the Styleetron (1991)
- "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" by De La Soul (1991)
- "Jump" by Kris Kross (1992)
- "Come and Talk to Me" hip hop remix by Jodeci (1992)
- "That's the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson (1993)
- "Unbelievable" by The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
- "You Learn" by Alanis Morissette (1996)
- "Luv Me, Luv Me" by Shaggy and Janet Jackson (1998)
- "Get Down" by Everlast (1998)
- "I Can" by Nas (2002)
- "I Know You Don't Love Me" by Tony Yayo featuring G-Unit (2005)
The "Impeach the President" sample is also mentioned in GZA's verse on "As High As Wu-Tang Get" by Wu-Tang Clan on the 1997 album Wu-Tang Forever, with the suggestion that the snare drum in the sample is easy to rap over. ("You can't flow, must be the speech impediment / You got lost off the snare off 'Impeach the President.'")
In 1992, Aaron Fuchs, president of Tuff City Records, bought the rights to "Impeach the President", and soon afterward sued Def Jam Records for royalties from its use on three recently-released songs: "Around the Way Girl" and "6 Minutes of Pleasure" by LL Cool J, and "Give the People" by EPMD, which used a vocal sample from the song and not the drum track. The lawsuit was settled out of court.
Hammond was unaware of the widespread sampling of "Impeach the President" until he heard it used in both "That's the Way Love Goes" and "Luv Me, Luv Me". In a 2013 interview stated that he has never received royalties from the sampling, and that he was still trying to do so.
Hammond has occasionally been credited as a co-writer due to the sample, including on the hit Mary J. Blige song "Real Love", which samples the drum track from "Top Billin'", which in turn uses a modified form of the drum intro from "Impeach the President". He is also credited for the 2011 Kanye West and Jay-Z song Otis, which uses a line from "Top Billin'", and for the 2013 Frank Ocean song "Super Rich Kids", which interpolates the chorus of "Real Love". Ironically, neither "Otis" nor "Super Rich Kids" contain a sample from "Impeach the President".
Since 1979 he has continued to release a string of soul singles and albums, on his own Three Gems record label, initially based in New York and later in Allendale, South Carolina. Hammond composed most of his recordings and has more than 125 titles to his credit. He recorded an album by ex-Temptation Dennis Edwards entitled Talk to Me, and also worked on a CD by Bobby Stringer. Hammond also runs his own record shop in Allendale, called Carolina Record Distributors.
"Infidelity, Georgia," also known as "Save by the Bell" or "Saved by the Bell," is a song about sexual infidelity in small town Georgia.
Hammond released an album entitled Stella Lost Her Groove in March 1999.
- Washington, Rico (June 12, 2013). "PROTEST SONG: Roy C's legacy goes beyond a single song". Wax Poetics.
- "Biography by Andrew Hamilton". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 22 January 2008.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 88. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Rule, Sheila (April 21, 1992). "Record Companies Are Challenging 'Sampling' in Rap". The New York Times.
- Godfrey, Sarah (25 May 2009). "Roy C's Old-School Soul Survival". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- "Stella Lost Her Groove - Roy-C : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 1999-03-09. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
- Roy C biography at Allmusic website
- The complete Roy C discography at Soul Express
- Shotgun Wedding Vinyl at Glasgow Mods