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Died On This Date (February 9, 1981) Bill Haley / Rock and Roll Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on February 9, 2010

Bill Haley
July 6, 1925 – February 9, 1981

With Elvis Presley

Bill Haley was a popular rockabilly band leader who came to be known as the Father of Rock ‘n Roll thanks, in part, to his “Rock Around the Clock” record of 1954.  Haley was just 13 when he got his first professional gig entertaining at a local auction in Wilmington, Delaware.  In 1951, he formed a band with whom he’d soon come to be known as Bill Haley & His Comets.  Two years later, their “Crazy Man, Crazy” became the first rock ‘n roll song to crack the Billboard singles chart where it peaked at #15.  In April of 1954, Haley released “Rock Around the Clock” to little fanfare.  His next single, a cover of Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” sold over a million copies and became the first rock ‘n roll song to crack the British charts.  In 1955, the all-but-forgotten “Rock Around the Clock” appeared in the credits for the groundbreaking film, Blackboard Jungle.  In a matter of weeks, the song sat at the top of the U.S. singles chart.  The song found a new audience with the nostalgia fueled youth of the 1970s thanks to prominent placement in the American Graffiti film and Happy Days television series.  Haley remained active on the road well into the ‘7os, but in the spring of 1980, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Bill Haley was 55 when he died in his home on February 9, 1981.  Cause of death was listed as heart failure, but the brain tumor likely played a role.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Best of Bill Haley & His Comets - Bill Haley & His Comets

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