When Bill Haley and His Comets Started A Rock 'n' Roll Revolution

In 1954, Bill Haley and His Comets rocked around the clock—and changed the course of rock history.
In 1954, Bill Haley and His Comets rocked around the clock—and changed the course of rock history.
Hydra Records // Wikimedia Commons

On May 20, 1954, Bill Haley & His Comets released "(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock," a song that would change the sound of American music. It might not have been the first rock ‘n’ roll song, but it’s widely regarded as the song that brought rock to the mainstream.

But what was it about "Rock Around the Clock" that made it such a musical outlier at the time of its release? During the eight-week span of when Haley recorded the song in April 1954 and when it was released on May 20, Perry Como’s crooner ballad "Wanted" was No. 1. Kitty Kallen’s forlorn "Little Things Mean a Lot" was the song of the summer, topping the charts for nine weeks in June and July. And '50s boy band the Crew Cuts closed out the summer with their doo-wop hit "Sh-Boom."

Unfortunately, "Rock Around The Clock" was issued as a B-side to "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)" and didn’t pick up much traction upon release. But the following year, the movie Blackboard Jungle (featuring a 28-year-old Sidney Poitier as a rebellious high school student) played the song over its opening credits, and the teenage audience went crazy for it. The song climbed the charts and hit No. 1 in July, taking over from the widely popular instrumental mambo "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)," by Pérez Prado and His Orchestra. Haley and the Comets had set the rock train in motion, and by the following year, Elvis Presley would cement the nation's obsession with the genre with his string of number 1 hits.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Most Popular Songs Named After Each Country

Burst, Pexels // Public Domain
Burst, Pexels // Public Domain

Geography is a popular source of inspiration for many songwriters. When a musician sings about their home country, it can be a way to express patriotism—or criticism. Crooning about a foreign place, on the other hand, is a way to transport listeners to a different part of the world. Inserting place names into lyrics is so common, nearly every country on Earth has a song named after it. Budget Direct compiled the most popular of these songs in the map below.

To make the graphic, the insurance website searched every country name on Spotify and picked the songs with the highest play counts. The most-played track on the map is "China" by Anuel AA with 631,980,232 streams. Though the lyrics don't actually mention the country, the artist claims China's influence can be heard in the song's rhythm.

"Born in The U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen is the most popular song named after the United States, which is funny considering the song's not-so-patriotic message. "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from Evita, "Russian Roulette" by Rihanna, and "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles are a few of the other hit songs that make the map. Some entries, like the national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are deeper cuts.

You can check out the full map of popular songs named after countries below. And if you'd like to continue your musical tour of the world, Budget Direct put together a Spotify playlist of the tracks here.

Budget Direct//CC BY-SA 4.0