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Subject: Archive: Bill Haley, Feb. 9, 1981

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Date Posted: Friday, February 09, 04:30:40pm

Bill Haley, the singer, guitarist and band leader whose original recording of ''Rock Around the Clock'' has sold 22.5 million copies since 1955, died yesterday of natural causes at his home in Harlingen, Tex.. The 55-year-old entertainer was one of the pioneers of rock-and-roll.

''Rock Around the Clock'' swept the United States in 1955 when it appeared as the theme song in the motion picture ''Blackboard Jungle.'' Mr. Haley and his band, the Comets, became matinee idols in the United States and Europe and recorded more hits, though their relatively sedate song stylings were soon overshadowed by the wilder rock-and-roll sounds of Elvis Presley and Little Richard.
William John Clifton Haley Jr. was born in Highland Park, Mich., on July 6, 1925. His family was interested in country music and he learned to play guitar at an early age. When he was 15 he left home to tour with country and western bands, and by 1951, when he signed a contract with Essex records, he was leading a band of his own, the Saddlemen. Their first release was a version of the black rhythm-andblues hit ''Rocket 88'' and prefigured Mr. Haley's later style, an amalgam of country, blues and pop influences.

First Hit in 1953

In 1952 Mr. Haley renamed his band the Comets, and a year later they recorded their first hit, ''Crazy Man Crazy.'' In 1954 Mr. Haley's ''Shake, Rattle and Roll,'' a blues song originally recorded by Joe Turner, became a million-copy seller for Decca records.

Mr. Haley and various editions of the Comets toured the United States and Europe throughout the 1960's and early 70's. His recordings are recognized here and perhaps especially in Europe as among the earliest in the emerging rock-and-roll style and were an important influence on the Beatles and other prominent rock performers during the 60's and 70's.

In recent years Mr. Haley lived quietly with his wife and children and granted no interviews.

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Subject Author Date
"Rock Around The Clock"Bill Haley & His CometsFriday, February 09, 04:31:47pm
Percy Faith died five years to the day before (NT)at age 67Monday, February 12, 09:18:54pm

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