The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Shake, Rattle, and Roll” – Bill Haley & His Comets


The early days of rock and roll brought many iconic hits, such as the track you are hearing, ‘Shake, Rattle, and Roll’ by Bill Haley and His Comets. After its release in August 1954, Haley’s recording skyrocketed to the top of the charts, reaching #7 on the Billboard pop chart, and spending twenty seven weeks in the Top 40. Haley’s version is a cover of the original track by Big Joe Turner, a blues shouter, released in April 1954. Around this decade, it was common for white artists to cover songs recorded by black artists, such as what Haley did with Turner. Covers normally drew more success than the original, which, from a racial standpoint, could be viewed negatively. In this case, Haley’s version helped popularize Turner’s and draw more attention to his name.

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