What was the flip side to the original “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets?
Although people can and do argue for hours about what the very first rock single recorded was, “Rock Around the Clock” was unquestionably the first rock single to hit #1, in the summer of 1955. Its blockbuster success was sparked by its use on the soundtrack of the movie The Blackboard Jungle. But the year before, the 78-rpm single of “Rock Around the Clock” had been a flop–and it was only a B-side itself. The song that took top billing over it was “Thirteen Women,” a novelty R&B number about an H-bomb explosion that leaves just fourteen people alive: one man and thirteen women. Lyrics such as ” I had three girls dancing the mambo / Three girls balling the jack / And all of the rest really did their best / Boy, they sure were a lively pack” were apparently one year ahead of their time.
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)