Bill Haley and The Comets

image for Bill Haley and The Comets
Exhibition Label
Born Highland Park, Michigan
With their hit renditions of "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and "Rock Around the Clock," Bill Haley and the Comets helped revolutionize the pop music industry in the mid-1950s by bringing rock and roll into the musical mainstream. Singer and guitarist Haley began his career performing cowboy songs and country melodies, but by the beginning of the 1950s, he and his band were exploring a new blend of popular music that fused country and western elements with those of traditional rhythm and blues. The hybrid was rock and roll, and although it did not originate with Haley, he became one of its most successful proponents. After gaining popularity with several songs, including their cover of Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll," Bill Haley and the Comets struck top-ten gold in 1955 when "Rock Around the Clock" became rock and roll's first international hit, thanks to its exposure in the film The Asphalt Jungle.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© 1995 Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
1956 (printed later)
Object number
Mickey Pallas, 1916 - 8 Aug 1997
Bill Haley, 6 Jul 1925 - 9 Feb 1981
Rudy Pompilli, 16 Apr 1924 - 5 Feb 1976
Equipment\Sound Devices\Microphone
Interior\Performing Arts\Theatrical\Stage
Music\Musical instrument\Guitar
Music\Musical instrument\Saxophone
Costume\Dress Accessory\Tie\Bowtie
Bill Haley: Male
Bill Haley: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter
Bill Haley: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Guitarist
Bill Haley: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Rock
Bill Haley: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Rock
Rudy Pompilli: Male
Rudy Pompilli: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician
Rudy Pompilli: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Horn\Saxophonist
Gelatin silver print
Image: 27.1 x 26.3 cm (10 11/16 x 10 3/8")
Sheet: 35.6 x 27.7 cm (14 x 10 7/8")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16")
National Portrait Gallery