Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley and The Comets

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………..on April 12th of 1954 Bill Haley records “Rock Around The Clock”, a song that was first released by Sunny Dae in 1952. This was written in 1953 by a Philadelphia songwriter named named Max Freedman (who was nearly 60 years old), and by James Myers, who was a local musician and song publisher, who published it under the name “Jimmy De-Knight.” In addition to owning half the composer credit on the song, Myers had 100% of the publishing. There is some dispute over what was the first rock song ever recorded (The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame says it’s Rocket 88, which Haley covered in 1951), but this is indisputably the first rock song to top the charts, and generally considered the beginning of the “Rock Era,” at least for chart purposes. “Rock Around The Clock” first appeared on the charts on June 3, 1953, selling 75,000 copies and convincing Decca to pick up Haley’s option. Haley then recorded a successful cover of the Big Joe Turner song “Shake, Rattle And Roll,” and on March 25, 1955, “Rock Around The Clock” was featured in the movie Blackboard Jungle, which gave it a surge in popularity and prompted Decca to re-release the single. This time, the song surged to the top of the charts, entering the Top 40 on May 14, 1955 and hitting #1 on July 9, where it stayed for eight weeks. Haley went to New York to cut his first Decca session. Musicians were: Billy Williamson on steel guitar, Johnny Grande on piano, Joey d’Ambrosio on tenor sax, Danny Cedrone on lead guitar and Marshall Lytle on bass. A session drummer, named Billy Gussack played on this recording. Haley recorded the song a few other times, but this recording was the original single. In the UK, where the rock song also reached #1, this was the biggest-selling single of the ’50s.