Bill Haley & The Comets


"... We re all dancing rock and roll..." were the words of a popular song years ago, and this refrain could be sung today as well. What used to express the revolt of teen-agers in the 1950s has by now become classical numbers described in serious encyclopaedias. But the beginning was not easy and many predicted rock and roll would fade away quickly.

Although World War II decreased racial prejudices in the United States, a division into "white and black" did still persist in the sphere of culture. The black had their blues or its more dynamic form, the rhythm and blues, while the white had their country music. Yet those concerned with show-business kept wondering what should be done to produce a mixture of the two styles which would satisfy at once all the young. They made some attempts. The easiest way seemed to launch white performers singing in the manner of the black ones. Among the former was Bill Haley. No longer very young, balding already, he had performed country music. According to the rules of that world there seemed to be no chance of his becoming an idol of the young in revolt. And yet...

It appeared that in that early period what mattered was not the looks of the performer but what and how he sang. And Bill Haley sang in a frenzy, tearing strings, rolling on the stage, climing the instruments. It was a shock and something utterly new. Soon it was decided to make good use of the invention. The film "Rock Around A Clock", made in 1956, with the songs of the then 31-year-old Haley, became a huge success while also giving rise to scandals and excesses. Nick Cohn writes in his book "Rock From the Beginning" that when this picture was shown in the summer of 1956, the viewers would dance in the gangways raising seats high, jostle and destroy everything they could lay their hands on. In a single moment the rock revolt was born.

The first "child" of that revolt became Bill Haley who had hardly expected it. On this disc you are going to hear him on his favourite, well-known recordings, though these are usually associated with the names of other idols of rock'n'roll: Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Bobby Darin, Chuck Barry. Yet the unfailing rendition by the vocalist who knew about rock and roll everything makes us listen to these numbers with great interest and discover some of them once more. The fans of the "Haleyan" Haley of the rockabilly style will be especially gratified at hearing "Crazy Man Crazy".

So we are presenting to you a collection of unforgettable standards, performed by one of the brightest stars of rock and roll music.

Adam Halber

[Текст с пластинки "Bill Haley & The Comets "rock and roll". GNP - Crescendo records. Polskie Nagrania - MUZA. 1986]

[13 июня 2002]

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