Song Stories

“(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock”

Bill Haley and His Comets | 1954
The simple lyric about rockin’ “until broad daylight” could well be about dancing to a live band, although the “seventh heaven” reference implies it could be about making love. Either way, the world’s first No. 1 rock ‘n’ roll hit — credited to Max C Freedman and Jimmy De Knight (born James E. Myers) —became a teenage anthem when Bill Haley and His Comets put it out. In the 70s, it charted again when it was used as the theme for the film American Graffiti and first two seasons of Happy Days.
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Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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