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Rock Around the Clock

January 1955: The second world war and rationing had ended and the USA and Britain was entering a new era, Rock 'n' roll. Winifred Atwell's pub piano medley Let's Have Another Party (Atwell, 2000) was the top of the charts and number 18 there was a new band with a new sound. Bill Haley released the new track as a B side the previous year but this year he was back with this new sound and with it he started a movement which changed the sound of the fifties (Stanley, 2014). The music was written by Max C. Freedman and Jimmy de Knight also known as James E Mayers (Discogs, n.d.).

Rock Around the Clock (, 1968) was the first rock 'n' roll international number 1 anthem and Bill Haley and His Comets were the band of the new style of music. What made this song so successful? The introduction, the saxophones, the repetition, the drum pattern and the exciting and fast guitar solo.

The history of this addictive tune includes a film that is remembered as the catalyst of the teenage culture and audiences vandalised cinemas and acted in other inappropriate ways (ka, 2014).

The media were attracted to the outbreaks of teenage trouble making and spread the reports of the new sound and violence that accompanied it. This violence often meant teenage excitement and jiving, or dancing, on the pavement and clapping and shouting. This caused panic amidst older generations as it was seen as the disappearance and disregard of traditional values. Due to this apparent behaviour, and the associated fashion, Rock 'n' Roll was labelled as the devil's music as it took young people away from a chapel or church way of life. (luciella.giuliani, 2018)

It remained at number one on the pop charts for 2 months. (Radio, n.d.)

The music style was taken up by many other popular musicians include Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard and many others. (Sampson, 2015)

The Lyrics and chords can be downloaded from Ultimate Guitar (A, 2022) and the melody line from Musescore (Lea Tinguely, 2014).


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Comprehension Skills
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If you require help with this style of music book a lesson with one of our Academy teachers.


A, P. (2022). Bill Haley & His Comets - Rock Around The Clock (Chords). [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023].

Atwell, W. (2000). Let’s Have Another Party. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. Discogs. (n.d.). Max C. Freedman. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. ka, V. (2014). Bill Haley & His Comets - Rock Around The Clock (OST, 1956). YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. Lea Tinguely (2014). Rock around the clock. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. luciella.giuliani (2018). Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock Tour. [online] Wales since 1945. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. (1968). Rock Around The Clock. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. Radio, C. (n.d.). The story of a song: (We re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. Sampson (2015). 100 Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Artists of The 1950s. [online] DigitalDreamDoor. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2023]. Stanley, B. (2014). Bill Haley: Rock Around the Clock – the world’s first rock anthem. [online] the Guardian. Available at:



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