Jack Hammer, American musician and songwriter, Died at 90


Earl Solomon Burroughs was born on September 16, 1925, in New Orleans and died on April 11, 2016.

He was better known by his stage name Jack Hammer.

He was an American pianist, singer and songwriter, credited as the co-writer of “Great Balls of Fire”.

He grew up in California.

During the early 1950s, Jack relocated to New York City, where he worked as an MC at the Baby Grand Theatre.

Jack started writing songs, one of his earliest being “Fujiyama Mama”, recorded by Annisteen Allen, Eileen Barton, and a few years later by Wanda Jackson.

Following him start to use the pseudonym Jack Hammer, he was also the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Call”, recorded by the Treniers and Louis Jordan.

Jack Hammer also recorded numerous singles in the mid-1950s, including “Football Rock” on Decca, and “Girl Girl Girl” on Roulette.

He wrote a song, “Great Balls of Fire”, and submitted it to songwriter Paul Case, who liked the title but not the song itself.

However, Case passed the idea to Otis Blackwell, and commissioned him to write a song of the same title for inclusion in the film Jamboree, with Hammer taking a half share of the songwriting royalties.

And, the song was successfully recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jack also wrote “Peek-A-Boo”, a hit for the Cadillacs.

Some of Hammer’s songwriting work was credited to various aliases including Earl Burrows, Early S. Burrows, George Stone, and T.T. Tyler.

Jack recorded an LP, in 1960, Rebellion – Jack Hammer Sings and Reads Songs and Poems of the Beat Generation, for the Warwick label.

In the same year, when the lead vocalist of the Platters left for a solo career, Jack Hammer joined the group and performed, recorded, and wrote songs for the group.

The following year he relocated to Paris, where he performed impersonations of Sammy Davis Jr. and Chuck Berry in cabaret, and then to Belgium.

There, he recorded a series of twist songs, including “Kissin’ Twist”, which became a big hit in Belgium, Germany, France and Sweden.

He was a good dancer, Hammer became known in Europe as “The Twistin’ King”, and released an LP under that title.

Whilst he was in Britain, its title was changed to Hammer + Beat = Twist, released by Oriole Records.

Jack then moved to Germany and performed on US military bases.

During the mid-1970s, Hammer moved back to the US, and at one point was scheduled to play the part of Jimi Hendrix in a movie that was never made.

He performed in the Broadway production of Bubblin’ Brown Sugar from February 1976 to December 1977.

Jack Hammer passed away at 90 yrs old.