Here are two minutes and eight seconds that forever changed the music world. It’s sometimes said that “Rock Around the Clock” was the first rock and roll record, but it really wasn’t. Songs that basically fit the understood rhythms of rock were recorded as early as the mid 1940s. But there’s no question that when Bill Haley and His Comets released this record in 1954, kids were ready to, well, rock and roll.
Today, artists can take days, months even, to record a song. But Bill Haley, even with a Decca recording contract, had only a couple of hours to record both sides of his new single. (Sammy Davis, Jr. had the studio next.) “Rock Around the Clock” was completed in two takes. It made a minor dent on the charts, and disappeared.
But wait! The next year (1955), the opening credits of the film The Blackboard Jungle used the song, and it became a huge hit. It became the first rock and roll song to make it to number one, where it stayed for eight weeks. Hollywood tried to cash in by featuring Haley and the boys in two movies: Rock Around the Clock (1956) and Don’t Knock the Rock (1957). Don’t look for those films on this list…ever.
By the way, I’d like to hear the B-side to this record. It’s called “Thirteen Women (And Only One Man in Town).” Sounds interesting, don’t you think?