On April 12, 1954, Bill Haley and the Comets recorded what became the declaration of independence for the new rock and roll style of music. This is the kind of event that we need to visit. If you go, please take the list with you so that we can witness the recording without causing a tear in the time continuum.
Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Recording of Bill Haley and the Comet’s Rock Around the Clock.
10 If you go, do not light your bic as if you are at a concert. If you do, at best, someone will point out the no-smoking sign. At worst, since Bic lighters weren’t invented until 1972, you might get a few stares. (Also, Leonard the tradition of holding up candles began at Woodstock in August of 1969. The singer Melanie wrote a song titled “Candles in the Rain,” and while she was singing at Woodstock, the hillsides were filled with people and lit candles. It continued from there.)
9 If you go, do not ask Tiny the WWF champ if you can play Tamborine. If you do, At best, Tiny won’t know the word Tamborine. At worst, Tiny, who flunked out of music school and is now a part-time guard will want to play the Tamborine himself. (Don’t worry, Lucian. That flight of stairs that Tiny is going to toss you down has a landing on the first floor. Maybe you can control your descent somehow.)
8 If you go, do not point out that the group is recording the wrong song. If you do, at best, you’ll be ignored. At worst, the producer will offer to help you out by asking, “How did you get in?” (The song that took so many takes is titled “Thirteen Women.” “Rock Around the Clock was recorded in two takes after Thirteen Women was finished. Oh, you never heard of Thirteen Women. You are not alone, Lucius.)
7 If you go, do not complain that the instrumentals are so loud you can’t hear the vocals. If you do, at best, the producer will send you out for coffee. At worst, since there is only enough studio time left for one more take, the Producer will lose his cool. (I would stay out of the way Lukas. The producer is going to do the vocals over and hope for the best. In fact, he is hoping the guy doing the final mix can save the mess somehow. Yes, he has a knife. I think you’d better be quiet now.)
6 If you go, do not ask who is doing the guitar solo. If you do, at best, you’ll be told it’s handled. At worst, the soloist Danny Cedrone is standing right next to you. (Good thing Danny is a nice guy, Lionel. Since he was only paid $31 to riff perhaps the greatest guitar solo he might have been a little grumpier)
5 If you go, do not mention you saw the movie, Blackboard Jungle, and the tune was playing over the opening credits. If you do, at best the band will think you are drunk. At worst, they will wonder what you are smoking and want some. (Rock around the clock did, in fact, play over the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle in the spring of 1955. The movie starred Glen Ford, who was introduced to the song by his 10-year-old son, Peter. Where was the song, Luciano? On the B side of the record Thirteen Women. That’s where.)
4 If you go, do not ask the Decca engineer what he is doing. If you do, at best he’ll tell you to get lost. At worst, he will find you annoying and call the police. (You see, Leif. It is his job to put the instrumentals and vocals together into something that sounds like Rock Around the Clock. He painstakingly spliced together the two recordings. This was something that was not done in that day and age.)
3 If you go, do not make bets with anyone on how many records Rock Around the Clock will sell. If you do, at best, no one will care. At worst, everyone will wonder how you know and how you can prove the number. (Okay, Lennon, Rock Around the Clock sold 25 million copies. Now you tell me how you can show that on the day it was recorded. I think you better just hit the backdoor and forget it.)
2 If you go, don’t ask the band why they are late. If you do, at best, the session will start before you are heard. At worst, your question will be like salt in a wound. (The band got delayed because the ferry they were taking from Philadelphia to New York got stuck on a sandbar. I think I would just stop asking questions Ludwig.)
1 If you go, do not tell Bill Haley that he will be performing at a command performance for Queen Elizabeth. If you do, at best he will think you are joking. At worst, he will wonder what scam you are trying to pull. (So, you let slip the fact that Bill Haley and the Comets played at a command performance in November of 1979, Lenny. I think you should tell Bill you were just kidding.)