Wayback Wednesday: Bill Haley

On April 12th, 1954, Bill Haley and His Comets recorded “Rock Around The Clock”, which originally came out as a “B” side, and didn’t become the huge hit we now remember until over a year later. Haley had just signed with Decca Records, and had their first recording session at the Pythian Temple, a former Masonic Hall that was converted into a recording studio. Decca’s Milt Gabler wanted “13 Women” as their first single, so they spent much of the session working on that song.

With 30 minutes left in the session, they turned to “Rock Around The Clock”. Well, 13 Women reached #23 on the charts in 1954. But Rock Around the Clock was re-released In June, 1955 to capitalize on its inclusion in the Glenn Ford movie “Blackboard Jungle”. Ford’s 13 year old son Peter had bought 13 Women. And Director Richard Brooks, while in discussions with Glenn Ford over the movie at Ford’s home heard some of young Peter’s records, and borrowed the Bill Haley single and others. When it came out over both the opening and closing credits of “Blackboard Jungle”, Rock Around The Clock became a sensation, spending 8 weeks at #1. Here’s Alan Freed doing the intro on this classic, recorded 63 years ago today!