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Rock Around the Clock: The Record That Started the Rock Revolution! Paperback – July 1, 2005
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Sounds like the book couldn't make up its mind.
Along with a number of interesting tidbits about the song's history and the 1954 Comets recording date, there's unfortunately much incorrect musicology of the "Rolling Stone" type. For instance, the song's eight-bar verse (which author Jim Dawson misidentifies as, alternately, a four-bar intro and an eight-bar instrumental section) is described as "a patchwork of Jewish folk melody" because it happens to have been written in minor mode. The significant changes made by Sonny Dae and Bill Haley to the song as published would have made for interesting reading had they been accurately described, but the account given here is pretty remarkably off.
Astonishingly, an earlier "Rock Around the Clock" was recorded by Hal Singer in 1950, and it featured a chorus in twelve-bar-blues form, with the last eight devoted to repetition of the title phrase. In other words, RATC's chorus had already been laid out in its basic form! Yet Dawkins' finds the Hal Singer tune (written by Sam Theard) to be different in "overall construction" than the later hit. Not quite.
Many pages are wasted with a specious history of the phrase "rock and roll" (Shakespeare used the verb "rock," for instance, as if this had anything to do with its use in R&B), and mock-historical asides such as a two-page history of the bass to accompany mention of the slap-style bass used on Haley's records. I don't remember whether or not a history of sound recordings found its way into the text as well. Probably.
Nothing much new here--as always, blacks are relegated to the "pre-" phase of rock 'n' roll, and whites (in this case, Haley) are given the credit for bumping it up to the next level, which rock 'n' roll presumably represents. Whether it's Haley or Presley getting the credit is beside the point--it's the same ol' rock-genesis account, and it preaches to the same flock. Someday, rock journalism may rise above this basic story type. I'd like to think the clock is ticking on this kind of account.
DANNY CEDRONE - Created a signature guitar solo which he used on a number of recordings, including two with Bill Haley: "Rock the Joint" (1952) and "Rock Around the Clock" (1954). He was born in New York and raised in Philly. He played locally in Philadelphia with his group the Esquire Boys and they released a song written for them by Bill Haley called Rock A Beatin' Boogie in 1954. Bill Haley was a good friend of Danny Cedrone, and every time Bill recorded he insisted that Danny be on hand to play lead guitar. Danny played on most of Haley's recordings from 1949-1954. In April of 1954, Danny was called to the studio to help Haley and the Comets record their first Decca record 13 Women and Rock Around The Clock. Amazingly, Decca released 13 Women as the "A" side, and the record sunk without a chance to be heard. A year later, Rock Around The Clock was used over the credits of a movie called "Blackboard Jungle". The song took off immediately and established itself as the first multi-media Rock & Roll hit. Rock &Roll songs had been recorded as early as 1951, but Rock Around The Clock was the first song to achieve unanimous popularity.
Danny Cedrone never lived to see his work accepted; he died six weeks after the song was recorded. He slipped, fell down a flight of stairs, broke his neck in three places, and died instantly. He was 33 years old.
He died weeks after recording "Shake Rattle and Roll" and months before "Rock Around the Clock" became a worldwide hit. Numerous guitar players over the years, including Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Chris Spedding, Brian Setzer, Danny Gatton, Reverend Horton Heat and the group Ten Years After have gone on record as naming Cedrone's solo on "Rock Around the Clock" as an influence on their own work. THANKFULLY HE IS NOW IN THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME. He certainly deserves the recognition for his work. The true guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets.