Monday Apr 28, 2003

Jack Hammer and I

I had sat down with my cappuccino, took out my drawing pencils and went to work. I was in the Starbucks across from the Beverly Center on La Cienega in Los Angeles.

It was sunny with clear blue skies—a vibrantly beautiful afternoon.

As I began my artwork, I heard someone say: “Excuse me.”

I looked up. A friendly black man looked back.

He told me he loved art and that he had studied art in Paris years ago when he was a young man.

I invited him to join me.

As we spoke, I found out that he was Jack Hammer, a songwriter who was most famous for Great Balls of Fire and the Ballad of James Dean.

I told him I knew a company in the midst of developing a film about James Dean.  But, the film company was dealing with the Dean estate and that usually meant long delays at best. I offered to make an introduction as he might write a song for the movie. He shrugged, thanked me for the offer, and handed me his card.

A moment later, a dark, attractive girl sat at the table right next to us.

Jack immediately complimented the girl on her looks and said that if he had art supplies, he would do a portrait of her. She smiled.

I said: “Jack, be my guest.” I gave him a pencil and my bristol paper pad.

Jack smiled, took the materials and began roughing out her profile. As I worked on my piece, I would look to see how Jack was doing.  After about a half hour, he had drawn quite a good likeness of the girl.

He showed her the drawing. She giggled.

“Jack,” I said. “That’s great.”

He shook his head back and forth as if he were singing inside his head.

Then, an impulse took over. I said: “Now that you did this drawing, I’d like to have it. In return, here’s my pad and you can do another for the lady.”

I think my bold request took Jack by surprise. He nodded okay.

I took the drawing and thanked him.

Jack and I shook hands. I waved goodbye as Jack began another sketch of the girl.

What a wonderful encounter, I thought.

Great Balls of Fire!»

Hi Eden,

I came across your email page today May 1st 2016.
I wanted to let you know that Jack recently transitioned on April 8th 2016.

I am the Grandson of Jack Hammer the songwriter of “Great Balls of Fire.” My name is Lance McGee and my performance name is Unique Derique.

My request is rather urgent because I am raising the funds for a proper and dignified burial for my grandfather Jack Hammer that must be paid by May 3rd 2016 for me to bury him on May 6th 2016. Our deadline for holding him in the mortuary where his bodily remains waits burial.

Please see below the GoFundMe campaign link below and share widely with your networks so that we can meet our goal by May 3rd 2016.

GoFundMe link below

Great Balls of Fire” Songwriter, Jack Hammer Dies at 90

“Great Balls of Fire” Songwriter, Jack Hammer aka Earl Solomon Burroughs Is In Need of Funds for an Immediate Burial!

Jack Hammer the man who wrote the Lyrics to the 1957 smash hit “Great Balls of Fire,” sung by Jerry Lee Lewis, is one of the “Original Architects” of Rock N’ Roll, the Hip Hop of his Era.”

We have four days to meet our financial goal, because as of now, Jack Hammer’s bodily remains lay waiting in a mortuary for burial.

Jack Hammer transitioned on April 8th 2016 in an Oakland CA nursing home, destitute and without resources for a proper burial. Jack Hammer’s Celebration of Life was on April 22nd 2016. Your kind, compassionate, generous donations would now allow us to bury Jack without delay.

If you are a musician, artist, songwriter, entertainer, lover of “Great Ball’s of Fire” a Jack Hammer Fan, as he is popular in Europe; or you simply want to support those legends who paved the way for the Hip Hop era, please contribute to this campaign and share with your social media, music, and entertainment network.

Jack Hammer’s contributions to “Popular Culture” will undoubtedly go down in history, and inspire generations to come.

Jack’s estate was unfortunately left in ruins due to unscrupulous business dealings and untrustworthy persons who took advantage of the decline of his mental capacity that resulted from the onset of dementia.  As a result, Jack began to make poor business and personal decisions near the end of his life. 

GoFundMe link below

Thank you and with Purposeful Gratitude,
Lance McGee Cell # (510) 435-7972
Jack Hammer’s Grandson

Posted by Lance McGee on 05/01 at 10:28 PM from Los Angeles.

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