Sales of "Rock Around the Clock" started slowly, since it was the B-side of the single, but it performed well enough that a second Decca session was commissioned.
The single was one of Decca's best-selling records of  and the seventh-best-selling record in November, Haley's "Shake, Rattle and Roll" never achieved the same level of historical importance as "Rock Around the Clock" but it predated it as the first international rock and roll hit. It did not attain the Number 1 position on the American charts, but it became Haley's first gold record.
Elvis Presley recorded the song in , combining Haley's arrangement with Turner's original lyrics, but his version was not a substantial hit. Johnnie Ray had reached Number 1 with " Cry " in The belated success of "Rock Around the Clock" is attributed to its use in the soundtrack of the film Blackboard Jungle ,  which was released on March 19, The song was re-released to coincide with the film and shifted to the single's A-side.
Ambrose's acrobatic saxophone playing, along with Lytle on the double bass — literally on it, riding it like a pony, and holding it over his head — were highlights of the band's live performances during this time. Their music and their act were part of a tradition in jazz and rhythm and blues , but it all came like a thunderclap to most of their audience. This was the earliest known theatrical rock and roll film release. In , Lytle, Richards and Ambrose quit the Comets in a salary dispute and formed their own group, the Jodimars.
Haley hired several new musicians to take their place: Rudy Pompilli on sax, Al Rex a former member of the Saddlemen on double bass, and Ralph Jones on drums. In addition, lead guitarist Franny Beecher , who had been a session musician for Haley since Danny Cedrone 's death in the spring of , became a full-time Comet and Haley's first performing lead guitarist Cedrone had played the guitar solo on the original recording of "Rock Around the Clock" and died shortly after the recording session for "Shake, Rattle and Roll" in the summer of This version of the band became more popular than the earlier manifestation and appeared in several motion pictures over the next few years.
Other hits recorded by the band included " See You Later, Alligator "  in which Haley's frantic delivery contrasted with the Louisiana languor of the original by Bobby Charles , "Don't Knock the Rock", "Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie", "Rudy's Rock" the first instrumental hit of the rock and roll era , and "Skinny Minnie.
Berle predicted that the song would go to Number 1, calling the band "A group of entertainers who are going right to the top. This was one of the earliest nationally televised performances by a rock and roll band and provided the new musical genre a much wider audience. The Platters were co-stars in the first movie, and Little Richard appeared in the second. The band's popularity in the United States began to wane in —57 as sexier, wilder acts such as Elvis Presley , Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard began to dominate the record charts although Haley's cover version of Little Richard's " Rip It Up ", released in direct competition with Little Richard's original recording, outsold the original.
After "Skinny Minnie" hit the charts in , Haley had little further success in the United States, although a spin-off group made up of Comets musicians dubbed The Kingsmen no relation to the later group of " Louie, Louie " fame had a hit with an instrumental, "Weekend", that same year.
Overseas, however, Haley and his band continued to be popular, touring the United Kingdom in February , when Haley and his crew were mobbed by thousands of fans at Waterloo station in London at an incident which the media dubbed the "Second Battle of Waterloo ". The group also toured Australia in , and in enjoyed a successful if riot-dominated tour of the European mainland.
Elvis, who was on military duty in Germany, visited them backstage at some shows. Back in the U. Members of the Comets were commissioned to work as session musicians on many of these recordings, many of which were written or co-written by Haley and members of the Comets. The Clymax experiment only lasted about a year. In , Haley's relationship with Decca collapsed; after a final set of instrumental-only recordings in the fall, Haley announced he was leaving Decca for the new Warner Bros.
Records label, which released two more albums in , which were moderately successful. Beecher later returned briefly to play with the Comets, when his record label failed to take off, sharing guitar duties with Kay. Kay left the band in but returned in the early s for an aborted world tour.
They hosted a television series, Orfeon a Go-Go , and made cameo appearances in several movies, lip-synching some of their old hits. Haley, who was fluent in Spanish, recorded a number of songs in the language, but most of the band's output during these years was instrumental recordings, many utilizing local session musicians playing trumpet. There was also some experimentation with Haley's style during this time; one single for Orfeon was a folk ballad, "Jimmy Martinez", which Haley recorded without the Comets.
In , the Comets without Bill Haley cut an album for Orfeon as session musicians for Big Joe Turner, who had always been an idol to Haley; no joint performance of "Shake, Rattle and Roll" was recorded, however.
In a interview with BBC Radio , Haley said Turner's career was in a slump at this time, so he used his then-considerable influence with Orfeon to get Turner a recording session. By , as related by Haley in an interview with radio host Red Robinson in that year, the group was "a free agent" without any recording contracts at all, although the band continued to perform regularly in North America and Europe.
During this year, Haley—without the Comets—recorded a pair of demos in Phoenix, Arizona : a country-western song, " Jealous Heart ", on which he was backed by a local mariachi band similar in style to the earlier "Jimmy Martinez" , and a lates-style rocker, "Rock on Baby", backed by a group called Superfine Dandelion. Neither recording would be released for 30 years.
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Don't keep it to yourself! Add it Here. Create a new account. Log In. The Waves. The Hangman. What went wrong. Michael J. Hidden Cities City's T….Performer – Bill Haley & Four Aces Of Western Swing: Rovin' Eyes Performer – Bill Haley & Four Aces Of Western Swing: Behind The Eight Ball Performer – Bill Haley & Four Aces Of Western Swing: cd 3 Rock And Roll Stage Show (LP) () 1: Calling All Comets: 2.