Friday, August 17, 2012
All five fake "Rock Around the Clock" versions
Since I'm always confusing them with one another, I thought I'd sort out the "fake" RATC versions--that is, the contemporary cheap-label copycat versions of Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock. To the best of my knowledge, there were only five such chintzy knockoffs, but who knows if one or two more are waiting to be found?
If there seems to have been any number of budget knock-offs, it's because at least two of these--the Gabe Drake (Prom) and Fred Gibson/Dick Warren (Tops/Gateway Top Tune)--popped up all over the place, label-wise. In fact, you'll be hearing a Peter Pan label reissue of the Drake track.
Of course, there have been zillions of non-Haley RATC recordings, some of them contemporary with Haley--Pat Boone's not-bad version, for instance. However, being legit, they don't count. I should note that at least one cheap-label RATC appeared outside of the U.S.--the Canadians, on Embassy (Woolworth's). You can hear that on Youtube.
If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Gabe Drake. Though I like them all, the Gibson/Warren version is weak (made worse on the Tops version by a weak mix!), the Jack Richards not very inspired (even if the guitarist plays the genuine RATC solo), and the Four Bells recording takes the tempo way too slow. Of course, at that time, who knew what a classic oldie this tune would become? And who could have guessed anyone would be listening to (let alone blogging) these cheap knockoffs more than a half century later?
Hm. Suddenly this post feels subversive.... Quick--to the zip file: RATC--the five knockoffs
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK
1. Gabe Drake, w. the Prom Orch.--Originally, Prom 1118
2. Dick Warren, w. the Glenn Horne Sextet--Gateway 1124; 1955.
3. Artie Malvin w. the Rock & Roll Rhythm Rockets--Waldorf Music Hall MH 33 49
4. The Four Bells, w. Jimmy Carroll Orch.--Bell 1098; 1955.
5. Jack Richards, w. Vic Corwin Orch.--Broadway 301
I forgot to note that the Artie Malvin version, produced by Enoch Light, is one of a handful of RATC recordings which feature the song as originally written, i.e. prior to modification by Haley. Dig the minor-mode verse.