Bill Haley Tribute


On February 9, 1981 : Bill Haley dies at the age of 55.

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If ever there was an anthem to rock and roll it was the song "We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" performed by Billy Haley and His Comets. The songs powerful refrain and driving beat ushered in a new style for a new era in popular music. Yes, rock and roll was here to stay!

In 1955, Haley recorded the landmark song, which held down the Number One spot for eight weeks and went on to sell 45 million copies worldwide. In Britain, "Rock Around the Clock" has re-entered the charts seven times. Surprisingly, "Rock Around the Clock" was not Haley's first million seller, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" was recorded months earlier and even it was not his first hit. Haley began his recording career in 1951 when he led a small country and western band. However, it appeared Haley was not any match for the current stars in that genre, Hank Williams and Webb Pierce, so Haley added a rhythm and blues feel to the band.

With the bands new style and a new name, the Comets, they recorded their first hit in 1952 called "Crazy Man, Crazy."

After signing a record contract with Decca, the group recorded "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and "We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock." This most fantastic group of music makers the world had yet known started a frenzied new era of their own creation. Haley's discs sold like wildfire in almost every country of the world. Indeed, we were rocking around the clock and Haley's music would soon be featured in 14 different movies and recorded in 37 different languages with over 140 versions globally!

The Comets also recorded ten other chart topping songs, including "See You Later Alligator," which like "We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" became an icon, a symbol of the era. Bill Haley had made his mark on music and generations of rockers would tell stories of how they were influenced by this seemingly innocent country and western star from Detroit.

Bill Haley, who performed on the revival circuit throughout the Sixties and Seventies, saw his signature song become a U.S. hit for the second time when "Rock Around the Clock" appeared on the 1974 soundtrack for American Graffiti and the hit TV show Happy Days. It is estimated that Haley and His Comets have sold 100 million records worldwide.

Bill Haley suffered and died from a heart attack at his home in Harlingen, Texas on February 9, 1981. He was only 55 years old. Stories emerged shortly after his death that he had died penniless, however those stories were never confirmed.

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