Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley's version)

~ Song

Annotation

Who wrote this song? There are three indisputable facts:

  1. James E. Myers (as Jimmy De Knight) had a co-writing credit (this is not necessarily same as being the co-writer);
  2. Myers owned the publishing company which published the song;
  3. As a result of the above Myers earned 75% of the royalties from the song.

Beyond these, however, it is difficult to separate fact from fantasy. Myer's story of the creation of the song was that he had written the melody and most of the words when Max Freedman called on him and helped him to complete the song by filling in the missing lyrics. It is interesting to note, however, that Myers did not go public with this version of events until after Freedman had passed away. Most other people say that Freedman was the sole composer. Johnny Grande, who was Bill Haley's piano player, and a reliable witness of the times, told National Public Radio quite simply that "Freedman wrote the song".
The publishing contract for Clock is dated 23rd October 1952. As written, as in the sheet music which was copyrighted on 31st March 1953, (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock was not a particularly good song. The published sheet music bears rather more than a passing resemblance to the Leroy Anderson composition The Synchopated Clock, and bears little relation to the final article as recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets on 12th April 1954. The introduction is in the minor key and the melody of the verse is completely different. The original recording, by Sonny Dae follows this pattern. Where did the transformation occur? Jimmy Myers conveniently forgot to credit anyone with the transformation — in fact when asked by me why the published and recorded songs were so different, he didn't have an answer. He might not have noticed, because I don't think he could read music. The man who crystallized the sheet music was a little-known muso by the name of Harry Filler. The most interesting thing about the Harry Filler's handwritten manuscript is that Max Freedman is the only credited writer. This could be a slip of the pen or it could indicate that Myers' story of the creation of the song was fiction, and that he became the song's co-writer after it had been written, probably at the time of doing the publishing deal with Freedman. (As in "I'll publish your song if you give me half of the writer credits."). A not-unknown practice in the music industry through the ages, as Chuck Berry, amongst others, was to discover to his disadvantage. This sheet music was littered with wrong notes which were not corrected in the printed edition.
The transformation occurred as the Comets rehearsed the song in Bill Haley's basement in the days leading up to their first Decca recording session in April 1954. Myers gave them a copy of the Sonny Dae recording, and in the process of turning it into the perfect rock and roll record, they altered the melody to what we now know today. To Haley must go the credit of altering the melody lire from the 1st 2nd and 3rd notes of the scale to the 1st 3rd and 5lh. His musician's ear told him that this made the song that much stronger. The other Comets in turn played their part in the transformation. Dick Richards, the Comets drummer who was at the session, but didn't play, worked with session drummer Billy Gussak to perfect the drum part, while Lytle provides the rhythmic bedrock with his slap bass playing, with Gussak punctuating it with turbocharged offbeats, rimshots, and cymbal crashes. Each verse features a different drum pattern, culminating with the "falling off his stool" routine right at the end. Danny Cedrone, another session player and friend of Haley contributed his trademark guitar solo which he had also used in the 1952 recording of Rock the Joint, as well as in the Esquire Boys' recording of Haley's Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie. Joey Ambrose suggested the riff for use on the second instrumental chorus, thus generating far more excitement than would have a more conventional sax solo not forgetting of course that B major is not a saxophonist's favorite key and as Joey remembered "I wasn't all that good at that, time and so it was easier for me to play it in B major".
(Liner notes by Klaus Kettner & Tony Wilkinson on the booklet of "Bill Haley & Friends, Volume 3: The Story of Rock Around the Clock", p. 2)


An electro-pop outfit from Brussels, Belgium.

Annotation last modified on 2015-09-12 16:01 UTC.

Relationships

arranger: Harry Filler
composer: Jimmy De Knight (1952)
Max C. Freedman (1952)
lyricist: Jimmy De Knight (1952)
Max C. Freedman (1952)
publisher: Edward Kassner Music Co. Ltd.
Wikipedia: en: Rock Around the Clock [info]
later parody versions: Rock Around the Clock (Bubblerock's version)
Talk About The Lord
later translated parody versions: Hausmasta Rock
K'Nock Around the Clock
later translated versions: Rock Around the Clock (Version of Los Hispanos)
Rund um die Uhr
Toutes les heures qui sonnent
Tunnista toiseen
Twist Around the Clock
Wenn der Johnny spielt
Д.К.Данс (Мажорный рок-н-ролл)
加價熱潮
referred to in medleys: Rock Around the Clock / Blue Suede Shoes / Tutti Frutti / Long Tall Sally
Swing the Mood
Mix 4: All Shook Up / Great Balls of Fire / Don’t Be Cruel / See You Later, Alligator / Let’s Twist Again / Rock Around the Clock / Hound Dog (reprise)
version of: We're Gonna Rock Around the Clock (Original Freedman / De Knight version)

Recordings

Date Title Attributes Artist Length
performance
1950 Rock Around the Clock (live, 1950s: Paris, France) live Bill Haley avec les Comets 1:36
1954-04-12 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:14
1955-04-17 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1955-04-17, Masonic Temple, Cleveland, Ohio, show 2) live Bill Haley & His Comets 3:01
1955-04-17 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1955-04-17, Masonic Temple, Cleveland, Ohio, show 1) live Bill Haley & His Comets 2:32
1955-08-07 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (1955-8-7, TV show) (live, 1955-08-07, CBS TV Studio 50, New York City, New York) live Bill Haley & His Comets 2:05
1956-11-24 Rock Around the Clock cover Pat Boone 2:11
1956 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (mid. 1956, Brooklyn Theatre) (live, mid. 1956, Brooklyn Theatre, New York City, New York) live Bill Haley & His Comets 2:29
1956 Rock Around the Clock cover Renato Carosone 3:18
1956 Rock Around the Clock cover The Deep River Boys 2:35
1956 Rock Around the Clock (early 1956, Ray Bolger TV show) (live, early 1956, Ray Bolger's TV show 'Washington Square') live Bill Haley & His Comets 2:13
1956 Rock Around the Clock (instrumental) cover and instrumental Michel Legrand et son grand orchestre avec Les Fontana 3:01
1957-01-07 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1957-01-07, for 'Ampol Show', Sydney, Australia) live Bill Haley & His Comets 2:01
1957-03-20 Rock Around the Clock cover Buddy Knox with The Rhythm Orchids 1:54
1957 Rock Around the Clock (du film Graine de violence) cover Peb Roc et ses Rocking Boys 2:36
1958-10-15 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1958-10-15, Olympia, Paris, France) live Bill Haley & His Comets 1:45
1959-10-24 Rock Around the Clock cover The Isley Brothers 2:14
1960-01-12 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:13
1960 Rock Around the Clock cover Chubby Checker 2:22
1962-08-31 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & The Comets 2:11
1962 Rock Around the Clock cover Phil Flowers 2:15
1963 Rock Around the Clock cover and instrumental Sandy Nelson 2:36
1964-01-29 Rock Around the Clock cover The Platters 2:59
1964-09 Rock Around the Clock cover Jumpin’ Gene Simmons 2:13
1964 Rock Around the Clock cover Ted Herold 2:16
1964 Rock Around the Clock cover Dinah Lee 2:01
1966-01-28 Arededor del Reloj (Rock Around the Clock) Bill Haley y sus Cometas 2:12
1966-09-24 – 1966-09-25 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1966-09-24 or 25, Alhambra Théâtre, Paris, France) live Bill Haley & The Comets 2:08
1968-06-24 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1968-06-24, Phillips Studio, Stockholm, Sweden) live Bill Haley & The Comets 2:52
1968-06-25 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & The Comets 2:16
1968 Rock Around the Clock cover Freddy Cannon 1:55
1969-12-16 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1969-12-16, show 2, The Bitter End, New York City, New York) live Bill Haley & The Comets 3:04
1969-12-16 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1969-12-16, show 1, The Bitter End, New York City, New York) live Bill Haley & The Comets 2:49
1972-04-23 – 1972-04-24 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1972-04-23 or 24, Cobo Hall, Detroit, MI, USA) live Bill Haley & The Comets 2:04
1972-08-05 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1972-08-05, 'London Rock & Roll Show', Wembley Stadium, London, England) live Bill Haley & The Comets 2:02
1972 Rock Around the Clock cover Mae West & The Hot Rockers 2:09
1973 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & The Comets 1:35
1974-03-25 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1974-03-25, Hammersmith Palais, London, England) live Bill Haley & The Comets 2:16
1974-12-12 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1974-12-12, Salle Pleyel, Paris, France) live Bill Haley & The Comets 1:36
1974 Rock Around the Clock cover Nilsson & John Lennon 3:07
1976-01 Rock Around the Clock cover Lee Jackson 1:39
1977 Medley: A Woman in Love / Rock Around the Clock medley Adriano Celentano 3:57
1978 Rock Around the Clock cover Carl Perkins 2:16
1979-03-08 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1979-03-08, The Royalty, for a documentary movie 'Blue Suede Shoes', London, England) live Bill Haley & The Comets 1:33
1979-10-27 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1979-10-27, for TV, Amsterdam, Netherlands) live Bill Haley & The Comets 0:47
1979-11-26 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1979-11-26, 'Royal Comand Performance', Theatre Royal, London, England) live Bill Haley & The Comets 2:11
1979 Rock Around the Clock (live, 1979, England) cover and live Sex Pistols 2:02
1979 Rock Around the Clock cover Gary's Gang 4:10
1979 Rock Around the Clock Telex 3:49
1979 Rock Around the Clock instrumental Jimmy De Knight 2:01
1986-07-24 Rock Around The Clock (live, 1986-07-24: Yomiuri Land EAST, Inagi, Tokyo, Japan) cover and live 河合奈保子 ?:??
1986-07-24 Rock Around The Clock(’86 コンサート・ダイジェスト) (live, 1986-07-24: Yomiuri Land EAST, Inagi, Tokyo, Japan) cover and live 河合奈保子 ?:??
1988 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1988, for the TV show 'Rock & Roll Palace', Little Darins, Orlando, FL, USA) cover and live The Comets 1:59
1988 – 1989 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock cover Bill Haley 2:22
1991-11-16 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (live, 1991-11-16, Nachtwerk, Munich, Germany) cover and live Bill Haley's Comets 2:11
1999-08-04 – 1999-08-10 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock cover The Original Band 2:11
2000-01 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock cover The Original Band 2:15
2000 (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock cover Bill Haley & The Comets and others 4:00
2001-01-29 Попурри из произведений классического рок-н-ролла cover, live and partial Группа Стаса Намина «Цветы» 14:34
2001-12-08 Rock Around the Clock cover and live Showaddywaddy 2:13
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:18
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets ?:??
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock cover Bill Haley's Comets with Joey Rand 2:02
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:04
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:14
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:10
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock cover Sex Pistols 2:03
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley 2:08
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:08
(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:11
(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock cover Bill Haley & His Comets 2:12
(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:11
At the Hop / Rock Around the Clock Orphei Drängar 4:10
Medley: Rock Around the Clock / See You Later Alligator / Shake Rattle and Roll medley Yngve Forsséll’s Orchestra 2:39
Raggarkungen cover and medley Galenskaparna & After Shave 5:04
Rock Aroud the Clock Bill Haley ?:??
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:15
Rock Around the Clock cover Мистер Твистер 2:05
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:13
Rock Around the Clock cover Bill Haley & His Comets 2:12
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley 2:14
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:11
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:11
Rock Around the Clock (mono) Bill Haley and His Comets 2:10
Rock Around the Clock cover and instrumental Florida State University Marching Chiefs 1:44
Rock Around the Clock cover Telex 3:56
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:08
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:17
Rock Around the Clock cover Sex Pistols 2:03
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:11
Rock Around the Clock cover and instrumental Gary Lambert & Eddie Cochran 2:26
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & The Comets 2:16
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:13
Rock Around the Clock (part of “Grandmaster Party” dj-mix) Bill Haley & His Comets 1:01
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets ?:??
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley and His Comets 2:12
Rock Around the Clock cover The Walkmen 3:34
Rock Around the Clock cover Sex Pistols 2:05
Rock Around the Clock cover Sex Pistols 2:00
Rock Around the Clock cover Sex Pistols 2:08
Rock Around the Clock cover Sex Pistols 2:03
Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets 2:12
Rock Around The Clock cover Sex Pistols 2:20
Rock Around The Clock Bill Haley 2:10