Rock Around the Clock

Immediate Disclosure: This is an extra-credit question for a class I’m taking.

The question itself is “What was the B-Side to Bill Haley & his Comets’ hit Rock Around the Clock?” And here is where my problems begin.

'Lest anyone think I’m shirking my homework, my research so far has turned up the following tidbits:
Rock Around the Clock was originally the B-Side itself to BH&hC’s 1954 single Thirteen Women (And Only One Man in Town)
– The song was brought back into the spotlight when it was used in “Blackboard Jungle”
Rock Around the Clock was re-released in 1955 where it became the first #1 hit and first song to sell over a million copies (although it took until 1957 to get there)

What I can’t find anywhere is information saying what the B-Side to the 1955 single was. I’ve tried discographies (which only seem to give the entire 1955 album and not the single), Wikipedia references, random Google searching, etc. So, at this point, I turn to the Teeming Millions.

Rock Around The Clock was the ‘B’ side of the record. 13 Women was the ‘A’ side and was heavily promoted as “the hit”. It only became a hit because of word-of-mouth promotion that it was far hotter than the ‘A’ side. I’ve never heard of any other flip to the song.

More info here.

More importantly, how do I manage to take a class that has as an extra credit question such as this?

No, really. I’m curious. Because I’m tired of classes that require such arcana as “tests” and “homework”.

Bring on the pop culture class. I’m all about it.


You may well be right then. Looking at a photo of the single , I notice there’s no actual indication of which side is the “A” and which is the “B”. Did the record companies just push one side more for radio play and hence make it the “A” side?

Trust me, we still get tests and homework :smiley:

It’s just extra credit randomly given out in my U.S. History 1865-Present course. It doesn’t make up for my essay exam question about reforms of the Progressive Era.

I teach the History of Rock and Roll at my university, and I promise you, there are essay exams, homework assignments, and a short paper. Depending on the size of the class, there might be a final presentation as well.

I teach it from an historical (social and cultural history) point of view, but another professor here teaches it from a musicological point of view. It’s a neat class, but requires a lot of preparation, as I have musical examples, but also make use of slides, dvds, and videos.

My students tell me that there’s actually a waiting list to get into the sections!

Pretty much. I just grabbed a random handful of 45s out of my stack and none of them have an ‘A’ or ‘B’ side. The studios made a decision as to which one was more likely to sell (wrong in this case!) and pimped it out. Interesting to note that in your linked photo the music is called a foxtrot. While one could certainly dance a foxtrot to that song, I doubt that many did.

Rock around the counter-clock? (wise)

Okay. I’ll go away.

Well, this ain’t gonna help your OP question, but as this IS Cafe Society, I would like to say that had I asked that question on a test (and I like the prof’s style, given the class title) and you prefaced your answer with the info you gave, it’d already be a no-brainer full credit for you. Given the research you did into it, I would probably also throw in an extra point or two.

(Caveat: At Troy University where I taught, we had a 10% “subjective” leeway at the instructor’s discretion. YMMV)

That’s the same thing I was thinking- Rock Around The Clock is a foxtrot? I guess they didn’t have the term “rock” around then, seeing as the genre hadn’t been invented yet. (There are many popular songs written in interesting formats- Take Me Out To The Ball Game is a waltz.)