16 3 mins 13 yrs

Bill Haley and The Rockets’ classic "Rock Around The Clock" topped the charts this day in 1955.  The song is credited as the first rock song to do so, and the flood they could not stop started right after with Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Fats Domino, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbinson, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dion, Ricky Nelson, Smokey Robinson, The Beatles,  The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Eric Clapton, The Band, Otis Redding, Van Morrison, Jefferson Airplane, The Dead, Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Who, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zepplin,  Frank Zappa, Allman Brothers, Neil Young, ABBA, Van Morrison Tin Lizzy, David Bowie, Lou Reed, The Ramones, The Talking Heads, Blondie, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Neville Brothers, DEVO, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, AC/DC, REM, The Pogues, U2, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Nirvana, The Killers, White Stripes, and Pat Boone just to name a few. 

Rock n’ Roll has been the soundtrack of many of our lives.  It is somewhat disconcerting to watch bands I recall starting out have their 20th reunion tour, and the Woodstock audience went grey (if they kept their hair) some time ago.  I often stare in horror at young co-workers who have never heard "Lola", who think Sherryl Crowe wrote "The First Cut is The Deepest" and who call 80’s music oldies.  Rock is a form of popular music that has abandoned the notion "I Hope I Die Before I Get Old" some time ago.  Or at least those of us north of forty have rejected that line, although I am sure there are some twenty-somethings who have at least embraced the idea "Hope You Die Before I Get Old."  Bill Haley may look to some teenagers now as somebody’s old Uncle who lingered too long at the buffet table before grabbing a microphone at a cousin’s wedding in black and white prehistoric times.  But count it out for me Bill "One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock ROCK!!"   Hit that guitar riff, and with the aid of a few cocktails and lax nursing home security I’ll be out on the dance floor.  If we can no longer use rock to rebel asagainst our parents, let us use it to rebel against our kids!!!           

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  1. Nostalgia, Mahons; it ain’t what it used to be.

    There was a documentary on Bill Haley many years ago where he remembers an interviewer asking him where he got the idea ‘comets’ from! He had to patiently explain about Halley’s Comet and the play on words, and added how he would like to be around when it was next seen, as it hadn’t for over 50 years.
    Sadly, the old boy died just 5 years before it did.

    His musical legacy lives on though. And that ‘kiss curl’.

  2. I made a joke at work that I was in a meeting longer than "Hey Jude." Nobody got it! In fact one young man had never listened to a Beatles song. Nuff said, the heathens.

  3. Here in LA the 14, 15 year olds are obsessed with music — I know young boys who can recite for me the historical progression of gospel, soul, r&b, motown, funk, rock n’roll, jazz. Thanks to youtube, old music is booming. At least here in LA. Maybe it’s just because I know some young jazz players who just love music.

    But, having recently lived through another bar mitzvah season – which is the rite of passage for 13 year old Jewish boys (and girls) here in tinsel town -complete with huge parties and of course DJ’s and music – I honestly don’t think there is any boy (or girl) of 13 in LA who isn’t at least well versed in the entire history and collection of the Beatles.

    On my car cd player (put there by kids that I drive around) : the Spinners, Motown Greats, Al Green.

    Can’t say I’m complaining.

    I’ve tried to sneak in some Gene Pitney.

  4. Patty

    Yep. There are lots of teenagers that are obsessed with the Beatles. Or the Doors. Or the Dead. etc…

    –one young man had never listened to a Beatles song–

    No! Unless someone was from an "ethnic" background — say from a Mexican family who only listened to a certain type of Mexican music [ there are many styles ]–this is impossible to compute.

    What type of music does this guy listen to?

    On the bright side, it he is open minded at all, look at all the good (Beatles) music he now has the opportunity to listen to for the first time.

  5. "–one young man had never listened to a Beatles song–"


    I’m sorry, I just can’t accept that someone can be such a philistine. Maybe he heard the aforementioned "Hey Jude" (possibly their worst song) and it put him off?

  6. I bet that he has heard some Beatles songs, but didn’t know who it was. But its hard to even imagine someone not knowing their names etc

    As a kid, I didn’t like Sinatra or Elvis (sue me) but I knew who they were and the names of some of their songs!–


    I like "Hey Jude" and think its a lovely song.

    Some years ago, I heard the background to the song, which made me like it even more.

  7. "Hey Jude" written by Paul McCartney for a six year old Julian Lennon, as John Lennon was in process of divorcing Cynthia [to take up with Yoko].

    Julian and Cynthia were very touched by McCartney’s gesture, and perhaps surprisingly, John Lennon liked the song too and thought it a great work. Paul had intended to change some of the lyrics, but John wouldn’t have it, saying that it was perfect as it was.

    He was right.

  8. Mahons and all, The young man in question is indeed Mexican-American. I’ll have to ask him what kind of music he does like, then brace myself for the answer.

    However it does get worse. He’s 26, and hasn’t read a book since high school. (In fact, none of the 3 people I work with reads for pleasure. Not one book read last year between the 3 of them.)

    My goal is to get him to try one book this summer, but I’m going up against video games, porn, and alcohol. Wish me luck!

  9. Charles

    You’d be surprised how many people, and not just blue collar, never read books. Because they’re too busy, or think that they are, or because they have zero interest.

    If your man is a Spanish speaker, maybe this will get him started on the path of musical righteousness.

  10. I remember a televison interview some time in the eighties with a British tennis player – Annabelle Croft – who appeared to be an educated balanced self aware normal young woman in her early twenties. For some reason the subject of The Beatles came up, and not only had she not heard any of their stuff, she claimed not to have even heard of the group themselves.

  11. – Annabelle Croft – who appeared to be an educated balanced self aware normal young woman in her early twenties.

    I remember her as a gorgeous long haired babe in a short tennis dress.

  12. I asked the boy if he had ever heard of Norwegian Wood and he asked if that was the name of a porn star. A man after Colm’s heart!

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