Tag Archives: Sammy Davis Jr.

Song: “Rock Around the Clock”

 

Rock Around the Clock certainly wasn't the first rock and roll record. But after it was used in the credits of The Blackboard Jungle, it launched the movement. Uploaded by ecx.images-amazon.com.

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.

Uploaded by d4haley.com.

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?

Music: The Rat Pack

Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Dean Martin. And Sinatra was the Chairman of the Board. Uploaded by writeonnewjersey.com.

They called themselves “The Summit” or “The Clan.” Everyone else called them something else – The Rat Pack.

While those five were the heart of the Pack, membership was somewhat fluid. Lawford was the brother-in-law of President John Kennedy, and Sinatra thought he’d have some influence on the administration as a result. The Government was wary of his perceived mafia connections, however, and never allowed him the access he desired. As a result, Lawford was never part of the group again after 1962.

Uploaded to Flickr by popartdks.

A still developing Las Vegas was their headquarters, and their popularity was a significant factor in the city’s growth. When one member had a concert, the others would often show up for an impromptu group show. The Sands Hotel even put on their sign “DEAN MARTIN – MAYBE FRANK – MAYBE SAMMY.”

The five appeared together in two films, the original Oceans Eleven (1960) and Sergeants 3 (1962). At least two of the group appeared together in six other movies.

Of course, women were a major part of the Rat Pack as well. Shirley MacLaine, Lauren Bacall, Angie Dickinson, Marilyn Monroe, and Judy Garland all had their times hanging out with the guys. They didn’t perform with the Pack, but definitely partied with them. As they might have said, “They were broads and they were barn burners, baby, but they were always the end.”