A.Song.A.Day – Rock Around The Clock

rock around the clockThe question as to which the first ever rock ‘n’ roll song was, has long been and still is a subject of much debate, but when it comes to which was the song that took rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream, there is only one answer and that is our song of the day.
Written in 1952 by Max C. Freedman and Jimmy Myers, Rock Around the Clock was initially recorded by Philadelphia-based Sonny Dae and His Knights in 1953. It was then in 1954 that the formerly Western swing band Bill Haley and His Comets recorded a totally different (and now famous) version of the song for Decca Records, and released it as a B-side to their album Thirteen Women (and Only One Man in Town). The song did make it to the American Billboard charts the same year, but its time hadn’t just yet arrived. That was to happen in the following year, when the film Blackboard Jungle featured the song, catapulting it to No.1 in the US and UK when it got re-released in June 1955 to coincide with the movie release.
A song lasting just about two minutes, Rock Around the Clock had Bill Haley singing about the joys of rocking all round the night. The phrase “rock and roll” had long been used in blues songs to refer to sexual activity all night, but Bill Haley’s sprightly delivery recast the song as an ode to dancing all night, aiding its crossover success. For the band, this meant an end to their swing music days, and they then went on to release many more rock ‘n’ roll albums, none however matching the success of this song of theirs. Explaining the new form of music, Bill Haley said: “If I could take, say, a Dixieland tune and drop the first and third beats, and accentuate the second and fourth, and add a beat the listeners could clap to as well as dance, this could be what they were after.” And so it turned out to be, rock ‘n’ roll dominating the world for years to come with the advent of legends such as Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.
Below are videos of the initial Rock Around The Clock version by Sonny Dae and His Knights,  one of the original Bill Haley renditions, and a cover version by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. The song sounds just brilliant on the uke!!