According to some sources, he became the leader by chance when the band was performing at the Hershey Ballroom in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The "Kentucky" in the name appears to be related to the band's use of "My Old Kentucky Home" as a theme song, rather than any connection to the U.S. state of Kentucky.
The group toured in the eastern United States and toured England in 1930. In 1931, the group was renamed Johnny Hamp And His Orchestra.
The group made most of its recordings in New York City on the Victor label. Their biggest hit was "Black Bottom" recorded in 1926, which led to a dance fad.