On this date in 1954, Bill Haley recorded "Rock Around The Clock"
Fifty years ago, Rock and Roll was an underground form of music. It was a music style the general public knew nothing about. Beginning in 1951-52, a growing number of recordings started to make audiences either sit up and take notice or dive for cover. But Rock and Roll was still an underground music form, enjoyed primarily by black audiences and those relatively few whites like Alan Freed who braved the racial intolerance of 1950s America to visit the back of the musical bus, so to speak.
All that changed in 1955 when "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets finally broke down the barriers that prevented mainstream America from enjoying Rock and Roll music. "Rock Around the Clock" wasn't the first Rock and Roll record. -- Bill Haley's own "Crazy Man Crazy" had hit the charts in 1953, and he scored a major worldwide hit with "Shake Rattle and Roll" in 1954, months after recording "Rock Around the Clock" which was at first considered a commercial disappointment. Meanwhile, an obscure truck driver in Memphis named Elvis Presley started to generate some buzz in the summer of 1954 with his own brand of rockabilly recordings out of Sun Records in Memphis. But it was "Rock Around the Clock" that finally opened the floodgates. No less than Paul McCartney and John Lennon (among many others) have acknowledged the influence of Bill Haley and "Rock Around the Clock" on their careers. "Rock Around the Clock" was in many ways the perfect Rock and Roll song (if such a thing is possible), and it was simply the right recording at the right time. And the world has been rockin' ever since.
I couldn't find three versions of Rock Around The Clock, so here are the three hit versions of Shake Rattle and Roll featuring Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley, and Elvis Presley.
Big Joe Turner - Shake Rattle and Roll
Bill Haley - Shake Rattle and Roll
ELVIS - SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL
How much a difference the rock revolution made can best be seen by the Hit Parade top hits for 1950
MY FOOLISH HEART
CHATTANOOGIE SHOE SHINE BOY
BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED
LA VIE EN ROSE
IF I KNEW YOU WERE COMIN' I'D'VE A BAKED A CAKE
ALL MY LOVE
A BUSHEL AND A PECK