Bill's chart-topping career ended abruptly in 1960, although re-issues of "Rock Around the Clock" resurfaced among the Billboard ranks in 1968 and again in 1974. Elvis launched a successful television comeback in 1968, became a legendary concert performer and Las Vegas attraction, and continued to chart hits until his death. As recently as December 2018 his 1957 version of "Blue Christmas" attained the #40 position on the Billboard charts. Elvis lives on today through his music. Haley, not so much. Despite significant differences in hit production, regional upbringing, vocal styles, fan reception, military involvement, and feature film success, Elvis Presley and Bill Haley shared several similarities. First, they both adored country music. They particularly appreciated the recordings of Bob Wills, Bill Monroe, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, Red Foley, and Hank Williams. Second, Elvis and Bill freely adopted
29 Roots And Covers Of Bill Haley & His Comets BEAR FAMILY. CD Entertaining selection of tunes by people Bill covered and those who covered Bill. People sometimes forget, but in 1956 Bill Haley's songs were the sound of revolution. After showings of the film Rock Around The Clock, the Manchester Guardian sniffed that "a youth danced on the roof of a parked car, another performed a 'snake dance' in a dazed, hypnotised fashion." Who wouldn't? Bill had excellent taste in covers: vocal group sides (Burn That Candle by The Cues), R&B belters (Jimmy Preston's Rock The Joint) or Count Basie's 1938 big band workout Stop Beatin' Around The Mulberry Bush.
Bill Haley is a pivotal figure in rock & roll and not only because he had one of the first rock & roll hits in "Rock Around the Clock," a jumping little number that went to number one in 1954. Haley didn't write the song, nor did anybody in his Comets. It was written by Max Freedman and Jimmy DeKnight, who shopped it around to a number of groups before Haley cut the song. Sonny Dae & His Knights, a jump blues band from Indianapolis, was the first to record "Rock Around the Clock," playing it as a standard jump blues, which was good enough to catch the ear of Haley, who cut it with a harder, swinging backbeat, and the rest is history.