Bill Haley - Rock around the clock - 1954


Bill Haley & His Comets: "Rock Around the Clock" (1954)

"Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets is an iconic song that marked a significant moment in the history of rock 'n' roll. Released in 1954, this song is not just a piece of music; it's a cultural phenomenon that played a pivotal role in shaping the rock music genre.

The Rise of Rock 'n' Roll

Rock 'n' roll emerged in the United States in the early 1950s, blending elements of blues, country, and rhythm and blues. It quickly became a popular music genre, especially among teenagers. "Rock Around the Clock" was one of the earliest recordings to gain widespread attention and is often cited as one of the songs that brought rock 'n' roll into mainstream culture.

Bill Haley & His Comets

Bill Haley, the leader of His Comets, was a pioneering figure in rock 'n' roll. Before "Rock Around the Clock," Haley had some success with other songs, but this particular track catapulted him to international fame. The band's style, characterized by energetic rhythms and catchy melodies, was influential in defining the early sound of rock 'n' roll.

Cultural Impact

The release of "Rock Around the Clock" coincided with a period of cultural shift in the United States. The 1950s saw the rise of youth culture, and this song became an anthem for many young people. It also appeared in the 1955 movie "Blackboard Jungle," which helped to popularize the song and the genre even further.

Musical Features

"Rock Around the Clock" is notable for its 12-bar blues format, a common structure in rock 'n' roll music. The song's catchy hook, driving rhythm, and Haley's distinctive vocal style make it an enduring classic.

External Links

For more information on the history of rock 'n' roll and its artists, visit MOOCit.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Rock Around the Clock" released? (1954) (!1955) (!1956) (!1953)

Which movie featured "Rock Around the Clock," helping to increase its popularity? ("Blackboard Jungle") (!"Rebel Without a Cause") (!"Jailhouse Rock") (!"The Wild One")

What musical structure does "Rock Around the Clock" predominantly use? (12-bar blues format) (!32-bar AABA form) (!Verse-chorus form) (!Rondo form)

How did "Rock Around the Clock" primarily gain fame? (As a symbol of youth culture and the emerging rock 'n' roll movement) (!Through winning a Grammy Award) (!By topping classical music charts) (!Through its use in a presidential campaign)

Which artist is credited with the song "Rock Around the Clock"? (Bill Haley & His Comets) (!Elvis Presley) (!Chuck Berry) (!Little Richard)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Before "Rock Around the Clock," Bill Haley was already known for which style of music? (Western swing and country) (!Jazz and blues) (!Classical music) (!Folk music)

In which decade did Bill Haley begin his musical career? (1940s) (!1950s) (!1960s) (!1930s)

What was unique about Bill Haley's appearance that became a part of his signature look? (His kiss curl hairstyle) (!His cowboy hat) (!His colorful suits) (!His sunglasses)

Which instrument was Bill Haley known for playing? (Electric guitar) (!Drums) (!Piano) (!Saxophone)

Bill Haley & His Comets were originally known as what? (Bill Haley's Saddlemen) (!Bill Haley and the Moonlighters) (!The Comets) (!Haley's Hotshots)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

The lyrics "One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock," are from which part of "Rock Around the Clock"? (The opening line) (!The chorus) (!The bridge) (!The closing line)

What is the main theme of "Rock Around the Clock"? (Celebrating and dancing through the night) (!Falling in love) (!The changing times) (!Teenage rebellion)

In "Rock Around the Clock," what time does the band "rock around the clock tonight"? (Twelve o'clock) (!Ten o'clock) (!Eight o'clock) (!Midnight)

How do the lyrics describe the progression of time throughout the song? (By counting each hour of the night) (!By describing different seasons) (!By referencing historical events) (!By comparing day and night)

The lyrics "We're gonna rock, gonna rock, around the clock tonight" are repeated how many times in the song? (Three) (!Two) (!Four) (!Five)


Bill Haley "Rock Around the Clock"
1954 Year of Release
"Blackboard Jungle" Movie featuring the song
12-bar blues Musical Structure of the Song
Youth Culture Cultural Impact of the Song

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Compile a playlist of early rock 'n' roll songs, including "Rock Around the Clock."
  2. Research the 1950s: Explore the cultural and social changes in the 1950s, the era when "Rock Around the Clock" was released.
  3. Draw a Rock 'n' Roll Icon: Create a drawing or painting of Bill Haley or another rock 'n' roll icon from the 1950s.


  1. Write a Review: Write a music review of "Rock Around the Clock," focusing on its musical style and cultural impact.
  2. Explore Musical Structure: Analyze the 12-bar blues structure in "Rock Around the Clock" and compare it with another rock 'n' roll song.
  3. Study 1950s Fashion: Research and create a presentation on the fashion trends during the era of rock 'n' roll's rise, including how artists like Bill Haley influenced these trends.


  1. Create a Documentary: Make a short documentary on the impact of "Rock Around the Clock" on the music industry and youth culture.
  2. Interview Project: Conduct interviews with people who lived during the 1950s about their memories of "Rock Around the Clock" and how it influenced their lives.
  3. Analyze Lyrics: Conduct a detailed analysis of the lyrics of "Rock Around the Clock," discussing its themes and cultural significance.
  4. Study and Present: Prepare a detailed presentation on the history and evolution of rock 'n' roll music, with "Rock Around the Clock" as a starting point.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Impact: Talk about the impact of "Rock Around the Clock" on future generations of musicians and its role in the development of rock music.
  2. Cultural Significance: Discuss the cultural significance of rock 'n' roll music in the 1950s and how songs like "Rock Around the Clock" reflected societal changes.
  3. Comparison with Current Music: Compare the style and themes of "Rock Around the Clock" with a contemporary rock song.
  4. Bill Haley's Influence: Discuss how Bill Haley's image and music style influenced the perception of rock 'n' roll artists.
  5. Evolution of Rock Music: Describe how rock music has evolved since the 1950s, using "Rock Around the Clock" as a reference point.

OERs on the Topic


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