Hamp Swain

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Hamp Swain (1929-2018), nicknamed "King Bee" after the Slim Harpo song "I'm a King Bee," was a popular disc jockey on WIBB AM 1280 in Macon, Georgia, starting in 1957. In 1954 he became the city's first black DJ when he began working for WBML AM 1350.[1]

Born in Macon, he attended college for a short time before working as an insurance agent for Atlanta Life[2] and playing saxophone in his own band, the Hamptones, which occasionally featured high school friend Little Richard on vocals.[1] Swain helped give James Brown his big break by being the first DJ to play "Please, Please, Please" on the radio in 1956.[1] He also hosted "The Teenage Party," a talent competition won by local singer Otis Redding several times.[1] Swain started his own record label in Macon in the late '60s, Jar-Val,[3] named after two of his children, Jarvis and Valencia.[4]

Swain was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 13, 2008.[5] He died of natural causes on May 8, 2018, in Macon, at the age of 88.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Fabian, Liz (May 9, 2018). "Macon DJ who helped launch Otis Redding, James Brown, Little Richard, dies at age 88". Macon.com. The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  2. ^ Guralnick, Peter (1986). Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom. Harper & Row. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Jar-Val Records". Discogs. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Matt & Robert". Sir Shambling's Deep Soul Heaven. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Hamp Swain to Be Honored by GMHOF". All Access Music Group. July 17, 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2018.