London (JFK+50) Fifty-seven years ago today, February 5, 1957, "Bill Haley* and the Comets" arrived here in London to begin the first major American "rock-n-roll" tour in Europe.
The European tour came two years after the band achieved success with their #1 hit, "Rock Around the Clock."**
Rock Around the Clock*
Photo by John White (2013)
**"Rock Around the Clock" was written by Max Freedman and Jimmy (De Knight) Myers. The song 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.
***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)."
Bill Haley and 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 and the Comets...."
McCartney saved up 24 shillings for a ticket because he "knew there was something going on here."
Pete Townshend said Bill Haley and the Comets represented "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.
*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.
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