I’m going to make an attempt to blog more frequently this year. To that end, I’ll posts playlists of eclectic music several times per week. Give them a listen. Skip the songs you don’t like. Heart the ones you do.
Today’s playlist is inspired by the January 6 birthdays of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett, Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge, Van McCoy, the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ Kim Wilson, Nino Tempo and Earl Scruggs.
Blackboard Jungle hit US theaters on March 25, 1955. The plot concerned the arrival of a new teacher at a violent inner-city school. The producers wanted a theme song that was typical of what a 1955 teenager would listen to. Glenn Ford, who starred in the film alongside Anne Francis and Sidney Poitier, looked through his son’s record collection. In there, the theme song was found.
It was the b-side of a single entitled “Thirteen Women (And the Only Man in Town)” that had been released the prior year. When the song was used under Blackboard Jungle’s opening credits, that flip-side, “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock,” performed by Bill Haley and His Comets, went to #1 in the US, and is considered to be the first rock and roll song to do so. It became a smash elsewhere in the world, too, becoming the UK’s first million-selling single.
The classic guitar solo on the track was performed by Danny Cedrone, who was not one of Haley’s Comets but a session musician who had worked with the group previously. He got paid $21 for his contribution to the track. Cedrone took a tumble on a stairway and died shortly after the song was recorded, not living to see its success, let alone its iconic status.
Tunes du Jour’s Throwback Thursday playlist this week spotlights the year 1955, kicking off with Bill Haley and His Comets’ “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock.”