The legendary Bill Haley was born on this day in 1925
Remembering Rock N’Roll pioneer and legend Bill Haley on his birthday
Born on July 6, 1925 in Highland Park, Michigan, as William John Clifton Haley, Bill Haley is often referred and remembered as “The first Rock ‘n’ Roll star”. Together with His Comets, Bill had a pivotal role on developing and turning Rock N’ Roll music popular, starting in 1953 with the release of one of Rock’s greatest classics, “Rock Around the Clock”, that at first didn’t caught much of attention, but became the blueprint for the 1950’s Rock N’Roll music. The single was re-released and obtained a considerable success even worldwide, and by 1954 he had scored another worldwide hit with “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, which went on to sell a million copies and was the first rock ‘n’ roll song to enter the British singles charts in December 1954, becoming a gold record. Haley established himself as a Rock legend when “Rock Around the Clock” appeared as the theme song of the 1955 film “Blackboard Jungle” starring Glenn Ford. The song peaked to the the top of the American Billboard chart for eight weeks and was the first record to sell over one million copies in both Britain and Germany. In 1957 Haley became the first major American rock singer to tour Europe and also continued to score several hits, including “See You Later, Alligator”, “Rocket 88”, “Skinny Minnie”, and “Razzle Dazzle”. Haley also starred in the first Rock N’ Roll musical films “Rock Around the Clock” and “Don’t Knock the Rock”, both in 1956. But by then, young Rockers had started to emerge, including Elvis Presley, which lead to his popularity to be eclipsed in the United States, mainly due to his age. However, he continued to enjoy great popularity in Latin America, Europe, and Australia during the 1960’s and 1970’s. After performing for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Performance on November 10, 1979, Haley made his final performances in South Africa in May and June 1980. He interrupted his tour, saying he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. However, this is disputable to this day. An admitted alcoholic, Haley was having serious mental problems in addition to his drinking problems. Bill Haley died early in the morning hours of February 9, 1981 aged only 55. His death certificate listed “Natural causes: Most likely heart attack” as the ‘Immediate Cause’ of death. The next lines, ‘Due to, or as a consequence of” were blank. Bill Haley remains one of Rock’s biggest legends and most influential singers and performers. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Look back at Bill Haley and His Comets performing the classic “Rock Around The Clock” in 1955
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