Tuesday, February 5, 2013


February 5, 2013


London (JFK+50) 56 years ago today, February 5, 1957, "Bill Haley* & The Comets" arrived in Great Britain to begin the 1st ever major American rock-n-roll tour in Europe.

*William John Clifton Haley (1925-1981) was born in Highland Park, Michigan but grew up in Pennsylvania.  His father played the banjo & mandolin while his English mother played piano. Bill Haley died of a brain tumor at the age of 55.

The European tour came two years after the band achieved success with their #1 hit, "Rock Around the Clock."**

                 Rock Around the Clock
                          Decca "45"
             Photo by John White (2013)


I just purchased the record shown above from Lost & Found Records here in Knoxville.  

The full title of the A side is "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock".  
The label designates the recording as a Fox Trot. 

The title of Side B is "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)."  

**"Rock Around the Clock" was written by Max Freedman & Jimmy (De Knight) Myers & was recorded by Decca. 

It has been called "the biggest selling rock-n-roll record of all time" with more than 25 million copies sold. 

                Bill Haley & the Comets

The band was greeted by thousands of young fans at Waterloo Station.  

The tour gave the group's British fans an opportunity to see their first live "rock-n-roll" concert.

Paul McCartney of the Beatles said....

"The first time I really ever felt a tingle up my spine was when I saw Bill Haley & the Comets...." 

McCartney saved up 24 shillings for a ticket because he "knew there was something going on here." 

Pete Townshend said Bill Haley & the Comets was "the birth of rock-n-roll for me."

Graham Nash was so taken by seeing the band's performance live in Manchester that he kept his ticket stub.

                                      Bill Haley

                       You Tube Video