No one realized it at the time but when “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley And The Comets reached number one on July 9, 1955, the music world would never be the same. That date marked the beginning of the rock ‘n’ roll era.
William John Clifton Haley Jr, 1925-1981, may have seemed an odd person to go down in history as the first rock artist to top the charts. “Rock Around The Clock” may not have been the first rock song but it was the one that introduced the form to a huge mainstream audience.
The song was originally released as a B side during 1955 but then was featured in the film BLACKBOARD JUNGLE. While it may have been a different version than the hit, when it blared out of the big screen in theaters, you immediately knew it was something different and special.
Best Sellers In Stores Chart – 7/9/55 – 8 weeks at number one.
Most Played By Disc Jockeys Chart – 7/16/55 – 6 weeks at number one.
Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart – 7/30/55 – 7 weeks at number one.
It was in England that the song had a long and successful journey. It reached number 17 during January of 1955. That was only a warm-up as it returned to the charts later in the year and reached number one in November. During 1956 it reached the charts once more and peaked at number five. Twelve years later it reached number 20 during 1968. It returned for a fifth time in 1974 when it peaked at number 12.
Bill Haley would continue to be successful until the end of the 1950s but then hits would run out. He woukld be a regular on the oldies circuit until the end of his life. He was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987. His old band the Comets continued to perform after his death and were inducted themselves in 2012.