This was written in 1953 by a Philadelphia songwriter named named Max Freedman (who was nearly 60 years old), and by James Myers, a local musician and song publisher who published it under the name "Jimmy De-Knight." In addition to owning half the composer credit on the song, Myers had 100% of the publishing. Haley wanted to record the song, but Dave Miller, who owned his label Essex Records, refused because of a dispute over the publishing. Myers then placed the song with a veteran Country act called Sonny Dae and His Nights, and their version was released in 1953 to little acclaim. In 1954, Myers helped Haley leave Essex records and sign with Decca; as part of their agreement, one side of every single Haley recorded had to be a song from Myers' catalog, and the first one they picked was "Rock Around The Clock," which was originally released as the B-side of a Dickie Thompson song called "Thirteen Women," which was about a nuclear bomb that leaves just one man and 13 women alive.
"Rock Around The Clock" first appeared on the charts on June 3, 1953, selling 75,000 copies and convincing Decca to pick up Haley's option. Haley then recorded a successful cover of the Big Joe Turner song "Shake, Rattle And Roll
," and on March 25, 1955, "Rock Around The Clock" was featured in the movie Blackboard Jungle
, which gave it a surge in popularity and prompted Decca to re-release the single. This time, the song surged to the top of the charts, entering the Top 40 on May 14, 1955 and hitting #1 on July 9, where it stayed for eight weeks.