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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Tomorrow Bill Haley will have been dead for 30 years.


Blogger Jim said...

Great photo. Did Bill have any influence on Bob?

12:17 pm  
Anonymous Nigel H said...

I know he's supposed to be the naff, uncool end of rock n roll but I have a real soft spot for Bill Haley. I like his music more and more for the silly smiley mood they evoke for me, and ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK still stirs me every time I hear it. At the time he was a real spark in the grey gloom of UK life in the 1950s. I remember that the day after he arrived in England for the first time he was headline news, having been mobbed at the station in London. The idea of anyone being mobbed was exciting back in those dull days. To celebrate, I went to school sporting a kiss-curl on my forehead and was caned for my pains - so the school authorities obviously felt that he was a subversive figure. In revenge, I made sure I was there the night that the Teddy Boys rioted and ripped seats out of the Lewisham Gaumont at the showing of the film of ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK. Hard to believe that such a totally tame movie could do anything of that nature and, of course, it was only an ersatz riot - a high spirited assertion of that fact that young people even existed as a force. Until then, teenagers had not really been teenagers, merely large kids or nearly adults. Bill Haley, before Elvis blew it wide apart, was a chink of light coming through the wall of gloom.

There's a sad song by Dave Alvin and Tom Russell about Bill Haley's lonely and pathetic end:

"Do you know who I am?" said Bill Haley
in a pancake house near the Rio Grande
the waitress said, "I don't know you from diddley"
"To me you're just another tired old man"

He walked alone down on Main street
a hot wind was blowing up from the south
there were two eyes staring in a pawn shop window
and a whiskey bottle was lifted up to his mouth

there was no moon shining on the Rio Grande
as a truck of migrants pulled through town
and the jukebox was busted at the bus de - pot
when Haley's Comet hit the ground

He blacked out all the windows in his bedroom
he was talking to the ceiling and the walls
he closed his eyes and hit the stage in 1955
as the screams of the children filled the hall

(repeat CHORUS)

This cop walked into a pancake house in Texas
and ordered up a couple of cups to go
and he tells the waitress, "Hey, I just found the body
of some guy who was famous long ago"

10:20 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

I think his records sound better now than they have done since the 50s.

3:33 pm  

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