"Rock Around the Clock" is a 12-bar-blues-based song written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers (the latter under the pseudonym "Jimmy De Knight") in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets in 1954.
It was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first successful record of the genre (Bill Haley had American chart success with "Crazy Man, Crazy" in 1953, and in 1954, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart). Haley's recording nevertheless became an anthem for rebellious Fifties youth and is widely considered to be the song that, more than any other, brought rock and roll into mainstream culture in the United States and around the world. The song is ranked #158 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Although first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae and His Knights, the more famous version by Bill Haley & His Comets is not, strictly speaking, a cover version. Myers claimed the song had been written specifically for Haley but, for various reasons, Haley was unable to record it himself until April 1954.
The original full title of the song was "We're Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight!". This was later shortened to "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock", though this form is generally only used on releases of the 1954 Bill Haley Decca Records recording; most...