The Hammond: A Vital Organ was a documentary presented by John Walters which traced the history of the Hammond organ, an instrument that survived decades of changing musical fashions. [1] It was first broadcast as a single-hour-long programme on BBC Radio 2 on 7th October 2000, less than a year before Walters' death, and its most recent repeat was in two parts on BBC Radio 6 Music in August 2014, whence the downloads below are taken. As usual, Walters adopted an amusing and whimsical style, as can be glimpsed from his introduction to the first episode:

"Wasn't it Woody Allen who once described the brain as his second favourite organ? Well, I wonder then if his favourite organ could have been the Hammond? Doubt it, somehow. I mean, he's like me, an old jazzer, part of a breed for whom the Hammond held about as much allure as a garlic clove in Transylvania. For a start, it was electric. And yet, I've been close to the Hammond: my next-door neighbour (and it was a terrace) played the Hammond, and most evenings we'd settle down and hear a selection from The Jolson Story coming through the walls. But he was a gentleman and he never played past News At Ten."


The narration was accompanied by music tracks in which the Hammond was used.
  1. Booker T And The MGs: 'Soul Limbo'
  2. Jimmy Smith: 'Walk On The Wild Side'
  3. Ethel Smith: 'Tico Tico'
  4. Procol Harum: 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'
  5. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and The Trinity: 'This Wheel's On Fire'
  6. Brian Auger: 'Indian Rope Man'
  7. Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg: 'Je T'Aime, Moi Non Plus'
  8. Stef Meeder: 'All Kinds Of Everything'
  9. Nice: 'Top Gear Theme'
  10. Nice: 'America'
  11. Bob Marley & The Wailers: 'No Woman No Cry'
  12. James Last: 'If I Had A Hammer'
  13. Klaus Wunderlich: 'Swinging Relations, Foxtrott'