How Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” Became a Hit

It wasn’t the first rock’n’roll song, but it was close. Gaz from the Happy Mondays points us to this item in The Telegraph about how the song came to be.

It’s rather amusing to think that it was a middle-aged man who wrote the lyrics that stirred up a generation of teenagers in the Fifites. When Philadelphia-born Max C Friedman penned the words ‘One, Two, Three O’clock, Four O’clock rock‘ as the opening line of a novelty number, he would have had no inkling of the staggering success in store for his songWe’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight, which went to No 1 in the US pop charts on July 9, 1955.

The song had been recorded 15 months before – on April 12, 1954 – by Bill Haley and the Comets, who made the two minutes and eight seconds long song (shortened to Rock Around the Clock) that became the biggest-selling UK single in the Fifties and is reported to have sold around 40million copies in all.

It is a song steeped in luck and bad luck.

Keep going.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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