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Why Bill Haley Really Rocked

 Bill Haley seems like an unlikely rock star. A pudgy guy who had been in some country bands, Bill was in his 30's when he recorded Rock Around the Clock with the Comets. There is a lot of debate about the first rock song, and it definitely wasn't Rock Around the Clock. But while it wasn't first, it was the one that broke open the dam. After the song was in the movie Blackboard Jungle rock and roll was huge, and Bill Haley and the Comets were the face of rock and roll for many people. They had a string of hits, made a movie, and got so popular the Haley was beating Elvis in reader polls for best male singer in magazines well into 1956. Haley also had to put up with his fair share of racist crap. He was picketed by white supremacist groups, not only for having the audacity to play what they referred to as "jungle music". He also played on bills with black artists and bands. Sometimes The Comets were the only white people in a revue. He also insisted on only playing to integrated crowds. This led to death threats and attempted bomb attacks. Luckily, no harm came to anyone in the group. Eventually Haley was replaced by Elvis as the main attraction in rock and roll, but he managed to hang on a little longer in Britain. In fact, he was the first artist t3o have a gold record (1 million copies) in Britain. He's not remembered with the same reverence as Elvis maybe, but all in all his legacy is not bad at all.


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