Rock 'n' roll struck the Earth like well, like a comet in the mid-'50s! Here are Rock Around the Clock; See You Later, Alligator; Shake, Rattle and Roll; Burn That Candle; Dim, Dim the Lights; R-O-C-K; The Saints Rock 'n' Roll; Razzle-Dazzle , and four more.
Bill Haley died convinced that his role in shaping and popularizing rock & roll was largely undervalued. If he was around today you'd have to agree with him, because his recorded legacy has been relegated on the one hand to bargain-basement hits collections and, on the other, to prohibitively expensive box sets that most folk will never hear. Haley's 20th Century Masters
set is yet another too-slight selection of his groundbreaking work, though it does contain all the basics: "Rock Around the Clock," "Shake, Rattle and Roll," "See You Later, Alligator," and nine others. Haley is generally thought of as tame and conservative compared to, say, Elvis
, which is probably true. But consider this unbelievably randy double-entendre from "Shake, Rattle and Roll": "I'm like a one-eyed cat / Peepin' in a seafood store." Yikes. If they'd chosen that
as the theme to Happy Days
, instead of "Rock Around the Clock" America would be a different nation today. --Daniel Durchholz