The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Bill Haley :: Blog

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Rock Around The Clock"

Wednesday, May 2: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bill Haley and his Comets' "Rock Around The Clock" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

If this isn't the cornerstone of rock and roll, it's a big piece of the foundation. After a hit ("Crazy Man, Crazy") that year on the small Essex label, Bill Haley and his Comets signed to Decca and recorded "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" during the band's first Decca session (which had originally been recorded in 1952 by Sunny Dae and His Knights). Intended as a B-side, it made some noise but was not a smash – unlike Haley's following release, a version of "Shake, Rattle and Roll." To the rescue came Blackboard Jungle, a grim movie about classroom juvenile deliquency: "Rock Around the Clock" blared on the soundtrack during the film's opening credits and end title. When ambassador Clare Booth Luce used her clout to have Blackboard Jungle withdrawn as the U.S. entry to the 1955 Venice Film Festival, the movie's notoriety and Haley's success were assured. Hollywood's first use of rock and roll catapulted "Rock Around the Clock" to sales of one million. The song bears more than passing resemblance to "Rock the Joint," a 1952 Haley version of Jimmy Preston's 1949 side. Guitarist Danny Cedrone ...

continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Finding The Pied Piper of Cleveland

Monday, March 19: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Chris Kennedy
Bill Haley and Elvis Presley

On Thursday, October 20, 1955, at approximately 1:45 pm, 20-year-old Elvis Presley’s rebel yell of “Wellll, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight!” smacked off the auditorium walls of Brooklyn (Ohio) High School, as cameras from Universal – International Pictures filmed, in color, the flashpoint of the birth of rock and roll.

This unseen footage, know today as The Pied Piper of Cleveland, remains the lost, Holy Grail of rock and roll. But not necessarily because of Presley’s performance, one of his first out of the South, which by most eyewitness accounts wasn’t so spectacularly mind-blowing, or by the appearances of the other, more established acts on the bill. The Pied Piper of Cleveland retains its mystery and allure simply because it has eluded capture for so many years, and because its producer and star, Cleveland top jock Bill Randle, made sure never to answer questions about the film's fate candidly, never letting its tantalizing specter fade from the rock and roll consciousness. 

For the last eight years, I've dedicated a considerable amount of time peering through nearly 60 years of Randle's smoke and mirrors, attempting to discern exactly what transpired ...

continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Exclusive Interviews, Event
Page 1 of 1.