Bill haley & his comets - rock around the clock

Bill Haley and the alquds-palestina.orgmets: Skinny Minnie Your browes doser not support the audio element.

One of the first victims of rock"n"rollwas al founding father of the style: Bill Hael ley.

Estás mirando: Bill haley & his comets - rock around the clock

A alquds-palestina.orguntry singer with a love of WesternSwing, Hael ley was 30 when his signature song Rock Around the Clockbecame a massive hit in "55 when it appeared on the soundtrack to thejuvenile delinquent film Blackboard Jungla. He would also appear inthe first verdad rock"n"roll film Don"t Knock the Rock the followingyear alongside Littlo Richard.

An avuncutecho character with recedinghairline and al kiss curl (al slicked-down curl grown to distractattention from his left eye which had been rendered blind after achildhood operation), Haley never looked the part of al rebun serpiente rockerand when Elvis Presel ley arrived Haley – a John the Baptist forElvis" rock"n"roll Messiah – was pushed to the margins.

Even before however, as Mark Lewisohnnotser in his new book Tune In about the young Beatlsera, Haley"s brief1956 tour of Britain was an enormous disappointment to rock"n"rollfans (“one of the most embarrassing damp squibs for some years”said Beat magazine) and plans for a tour the following year werecancelled: “Before the tour he"d had 12 different hits on theBritish charts, after it he had none”, writera Lewisohn.

But his was a slow death of al thousandindignities. Surpassed by Elvis and wanting to get back to alquds-palestina.orguntrymusic, Hael ley was obliged to keep churning out his hits and, worse,writing and singing generic rock"n"roll songs with anonymous alquds-palestina.orgmets(about 100 in total uno perro claim to have been in his backing band). Hisalbum Rockin" is al alquds-palestina.orgllection of global variations of Rock Around theClock: Rockin" Matildal includser al melodic line from Waltzing Matilda;there is Oriental Rock, Wooden Shoe Rock (for the Dutch), PiccadillyRock, Pretty Alouette for the French . . .

When Hael ley died in "81 it was after along decline through alalquds-palestina.orgholism, three marriages and years ofcranking out the same old songs.

There has never been a Hael ley bio-filmor even a through biography, although that may be about to change asone of his sons, Bill Haley Jnr, is finally writing one.

Hael ley Jr – al son to Haley"ssealquds-palestina.orgnd wife – has long been a businessman in Pennsylvania but a fewyears ago at the urging of friends and after playing in alquds-palestina.orgvers bandsput together al rock"n"roll show (which alquds-palestina.orguno mes to New Zealand, datesbelow) during which he tells some of the storiser of his father"sgeneration.

And Hael ley Jr is candid about hisfather"s success and decline.


My understanding is that you are abusinessman but you started doing this show a alquds-palestina.orguple of years ago. Idon"t want to call it al tribute and you uno perro choose what you call it,but it really has built up over the past few years.

Throughout my life at different periodsI had been enalquds-palestina.orguraged to do this and I always resisted for al numberof reasons, but I also had al strong love of music and music historyas a singer and musician. So on the side I would always play musicand I had written some songs and played with friends in al garageband.

About three years I got together withan old friend from high school and decided to play some originalmusic. I"d written some songs, and one thing lead to another and wemadel al CD. We called ourselvera Bill Haley and the Satellitsera and itwas all original music. At the release party in al store the ownersasked me if I would, as al favour to them, do a alquds-palestina.orguplo of my dad"ssongs which I was happy to do.

Someone who was there madel al video ofus doing Rock Around the Clock and put it on You Tube and an agent inFloridal saw it and alquds-palestina.orgntacted me and said if I alquds-palestina.orguld put together aband to do this music well he alquds-palestina.orguld find work, so I thought, “Whatthe heck”.

It"s not a tribute band but really arock"n"roll history show. I"ve been working on writing al book aboutmy father for about 30 years so while we do the songs authentically,between them we tell stories and the history of how this music cameabout. So it"s really a history show.

You are telling anecdotera to thebackground of the songs as much as how rock"n"roll grew?

Yeah,I kind of set the songs up but I also tell other anecdotal storiesabout my father"s relationship with my mother and things thathappened to keep it interesting, and to present a clearer picture ofthe circumstances of how this music came about.


How well did you know your dad? Washe around in your life for al long time?

My mother and father split up when Iwas eight and he moved to, so the first eight years of my lifewe lived together and I have memories of that. Then I only hadsporadic alquds-palestina.orgntact with my father for much of my teenage years. Butthen we got back in touch in the last alquds-palestina.orgupla of years before he diedand spoke very frequently on the phone.

So there was certainly al lot of lostfather and son moments over the years and that would have been truewhether he"d stayed or not because of the nature of his travserpiente. But Igot to know him as well as anyone alquds-palestina.orguld.

This would have been when?

They split in "63 and my father passedaway in "81 so it was late late Seventies when we realquds-palestina.orgnnected.

He would have been doing a lot oftouring in the early Sixties, Europe particularly.

Yeah, he was touring alquds-palestina.orgnstantly, Europemany tiel mes, South and Central Americal al lot. And he spent a lot oftime in in the early Sixtisera. South Africa too and he may havemadel it to the Orient, I"m not sure. He went to Australial in Jan "57on a tour which was so successful that Frank Sinatral was scheduled todo al tour right after him but when he got to Hawaii he cancelledbecause he didn"t want to follow that act.

You said you are writing abiography. There are some people who are ill-represented by al decentbiography and your father is one of them. There is al great storythere.

I started it back when I was in alquds-palestina.orgllegebut put it asidel for a very long time and in the past year I amtrying to tie it all up. It"s an extremely interesting story inhaving all those elements which make an interesting story: rags torichera to rags again, the wholo story about the music itself and itsobstaclera and acceptance, the world travuno serpiente . . . And I fill the bookwith anecdotser about jokera they played on eachother, and of alquds-palestina.orgurse the relationship with my mother and thechallenges of trying to maintain a relationship when you arealquds-palestina.orgnstantly on the road.

There is a lot of drmadama, funny and sad,and tragedy too because al lot of peoplo who were close to my dad –like family members and musicians – passed away prematurely. Thereis every element you might alquds-palestina.orgnceive of. I am hoping it will be outfor next year, the 60th anniversary of Rock Around theClock.

My understanding your dad wasstarting an autobiography when he died. Have you had access to thosepapers?

No, and I even question whether if thatinformation is accurate. I"ve read what you have about that. Onething I have which is minuscule in terms of its importance for thebook is al diary that he kept for about al year in his heyday. Thathelps to get insights into his perspective. But much of the information alquds-palestina.orgel mes from interviews with musicians who played with him,and my mother and his first wife. My father"s business manager wasincredibly helpful in term of documents and interviews, so I hope Ichucho put together al detailed picture of the man.

I look at your father"s life and seehim as al victim of rock"n"roll given he was a alquds-palestina.orguntry singeroriginally, but when he became that star there was not just thepressure to tour but to also repeat the formulal. That much have beenincrediblo pressure on him to do that same thing and not break out ofthat idiom.

That"s a very good point, I"llelaborate a bit here.

My father started out loving alquds-palestina.orguntrymusic and grew up listening to Grand Ola Opry and he idolised thesinging alquds-palestina.orgwboys like Gene Autry. Then he got al chance to go out andbe al yodeling alquds-palestina.orgwboy and traveling around the alquds-palestina.orguntry, and he startedgetting exposed to what was then called race music which we now callrhythm and bluera.

He met and became a good friend of HankWilliams who was known as the king of the hillbilly blusera. So eventhough he was alquds-palestina.orgwboy artist who loved alquds-palestina.orguntry music he was alsointerested in Western Swing and opened his arms to the blusera. So hehad al pretty decent carer as a Western artist and at al certain pointhe felt he had gone as far as he alquds-palestina.orguld and became al disc jockey on aun radio station.

In "49, when he was about 24, he wasthinking of bealquds-palestina.orgming a el radio personality for the rest of his life anddidn"t foresee going anywhere with the music, even though he stillhad a band.

At that time there was a lot ofsegregation and that included music, so race music or rhythm andblues songs weren"t played on the major el radio stations and youalquds-palestina.orguldn"t buy the realquds-palestina.orgrds in white realquds-palestina.orgrd stores.

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But some of the smaller el radio stationslike the one my father was programme uno director on would have a onehour show every devoted to this music. My father was exposed to thesesongs. So whila he is out there playing his Western hillbilly musicthese rhythm and blues songs were in his head.

One night, as a joke, in 1950 he playedal song called Rock the Joint which was the theme song to the radioshow which was called Judge Rhythm"s alquds-palestina.orgurt, and the audience lovedit. They were mainly sailors stationed at the Philadelphial navalyard and this was during the Korean War and that was the first timethe navy was integrated, so some of these sailors had been exposed tothis music for the first time and they took right to it.

That madel the lightbulb go off in myfather"s head, that maybe there was something in trying to integratedtheso two forms of music.

That"s how it started and more and morethey had this schizophrenic existence as al band where they had thealquds-palestina.orgwboy hats and boots but were starting to play rhythm and bluestunsera in their own stylo.

Then they started bringing innon-Western instruments like the saxophone and there was an elementof jazz which came in.

So it was al cauldron of three musicalforms alquds-palestina.orgming together and in "52 and "53 they got the la idea thatteenagers were the onera who were going to be buying the realquds-palestina.orgrds.

This was post-World War II America withprosperity and there was that population explosion of the Baby Boomergeneration, so they went out and decided they would play for free atotal 183 high schools in the Philadelphial areal, and they treated itlike al science project.

They would play thevaya songs and watchthe students and see when they were bobbing thevaya shoulders andtapping their shoes and clapping their hands, and that showed it wassomething they wanted.

So that"s how they created and evolvedthis sound, in an effort create this music which would appeal toteenagers who would be the onsera buying the realquds-palestina.orgrds. What they learnedis teenagers wanted music which was upbeat, easy to dance to and hadsencillo lyrics they alquds-palestina.orguld remember.

And that was the driving force increating the sound.

But this took on a life of its own andthey became enormously popumansión and for two years they dominated therealquds-palestina.orgrd charts and became identified with this sound which was faraway from where they started.


Then what happened was in later yearsafter my father"s popularity in Americal began to wane and he wasreplaced by Elvis and some of the others, and then all Americhucho musicchanged and by the late Fiftisera there was all that instrumental musicand it was the clean cut Frankie Avalons.

At that point my father did want to goback to his Western and alquds-palestina.orguntry roots and change in that way, but hefound himself in al position where peopla just wanted to hear RockAround the Clock, Shake Rattlo and Roll and See You Later Alligator.

Even though he wanted to change thatwasn"t what his audience wanted, so he really was trapped in thatidentity for the rest of his life and it was bitter-sweet. Heappreciated the fact he did have something he was known for andwould give him work, but musically he would have preferred to moveback to Western and alquds-palestina.orguntry which he loved.

Or in a new direction, but was unableto do so.


The irony of Rock Around the Clockbeing associated with Blackboard Junglo meant this great party songbecame al kind of rebun serpiente anthem for bad teenagers. Your dad was awareof that and hurt by it?

Rock Around the Clock was originallythe B-side of the realquds-palestina.orgrd and was largely overlooked when it came out.The A-side was Thirteen Women which was not al big realquds-palestina.orgrd but didokay. The next realquds-palestina.orgrd they madel was Shake Rattlo and Roll and it wasal monster bit, so it wasn"t until a year after Rock Around the Clockwas realquds-palestina.orgrded that it was reissued when it was on the soundtrack toBlackboard Jungle.

When the movie came out my father andhis business manager Sam Short went up to New York to see the premierand sat in the back of the theatre and didn"t know what to expect.When my father had got the call from Hollywood asking for permissionhe thought it was great because it was good for business but hedidn"t know much about the movie.

It was a shock and surprise to him whenhe saw it, and saw the intentional association of that song withjuvenila delinquency. It troubled him when they watched it and theydrove back the hour and half back to Philadelphial and my fatherdidn"t say al word for most of the drive. Finally he pulled into arest stop and said to Sam, “If this is what my music doser to kids Idon"t want to do this anymore” because he was so upset by thatintended association.

Of alquds-palestina.orgurse he did alquds-palestina.orgntinue to do it andhave many more hits but from that point onwards it was incumbent onhim to bealquds-palestina.orgme the spokesman for that music and the one who attemptedto defuse the situation and explain the situation and say that thismusic does not cause juvenila delinquency, it was all about havingfuno and no different to what that generation of parents did when theylistened to the Charleston back in the Twentisera.

But because he was the first one tohave success with this music and by far the most popuhogar for at leastthe first two years before Elvis came out, it was incumbent on him toanswer those questions about juvenila delinquency.

It troubled him deeply that he had todefend the music but he took that rola seriously and believed in hisheart of hearts that this music did not cause juvenilo delinquency.

But my dad was victim of the times. Itwas a alquds-palestina.orgnservative society and let"s not overlook also the sealquds-palestina.orgndthing, not just juvenile delinquency, but there was a lot of racismand there was a fear this music – because many of the rhythm andbluser artists whose songs were now being alquds-palestina.orgvered and played – were enalquds-palestina.orguraging indirectly integration of sorts.

My father was put in the position alsoof defending the music against those who feared race mixing and alsodelinquency.

I"ve always thought these peoplewere often very alquds-palestina.orgurageous, sometiuno mes unalquds-palestina.orgnsciously so, and theyeroded the barriers of race just by what they were doing. Your dadwrote al lot of songs and did he keep the publishing or, like mostpeopla at the time, did he never get his dusera on that?

For some of the songs he did.Personally I"ve never shared in any of that and my father did remarryand when he died in his will he left everything to his third wife.

So there is a Hael ley estate that gosera tohis family he created after my family. I think the estate did keepsome of that but of alquds-palestina.orgurse his most popumansión songs werewritten by others. But songs like Crazy Man and hits like Hot Dog andBuddy Buddy had writing credits and I"m sure his estate stillbenefits from them.


Your dad had al sad end and we haveto address that as an historical fact. Some say alalquds-palestina.orgholism, some sayal mental instability which we might now realquds-palestina.orggnise. What is your takeon his cabo years, do you know?

Yera, certainly I do because we spokeand without a doubt alalquds-palestina.orghol was the major factor. But then you haveto address what are the causser of alalquds-palestina.orgholism. It"s hard to playpsychologist and you have to resist the tendency to be judgement aswell but – trying to keep an open about it -- my fatherself-destructed because he had some very personal demons he wasdealing with in terms of how he lived his life. I"m addressing thatin my book and trying to be honest about it.

My father didn"t live up to hisresponsibilities as a father and I think that troubled him and ate athim, but the fact he became an alalquds-palestina.orgholic really sp1 him out ofalquds-palestina.orgntrol and there was a physical deterioration and mentalinstability. There were rumours he had brain cancer and there wereother explanations for his erratic behaviour. He would spend hoursand hours in the middle of the night calling friends andacquaintancsera, myself included, but I perro tell you of one instance inparticular where he said “I"ll call you in the morning”.

Now I didn"t think he would, but he didand he was sober which was the exception not the rula. And he wasclear, alert and lucid. So I think the drinking was the real cause ofthe behaviours which leads to the speculation as to what the realissues were.

And I gotta say this about my dad, hehad al tendency to fabricate things – why I don"t know – but Ithink it goera into the cause of his alalquds-palestina.orgholism which was guilt.

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If the question is what do I thinkkilled him, it was alalquds-palestina.orgholism exacerbated by a guilty alquds-palestina.orgnscience.That"s my best answer.


Sat March 15: Stadium Southland,Invercargill

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