Rip It Up from Don’t Knock the Rock by rock and roll band Bill Haley & His Comets became a huge dance smash in the 1950s.
Early rock and roll music became a hit as it was so upbeat and cheerful, which was much needed following two decades of depression and war. They had some free time and money for the first time in a long time. They were eager to get a new record and dance to it. As a result, bands like Bill Haley & His Comets became very famous. They grabbed the imagination of a generation with singles like Rock Around the Clock and See You Later, Alligator.
Bill Haley & The Comets were so well-known that they were asked to appear on television shows and were even cast in big movie films. The film Don’t Knock the Rock is a fantastic illustration of this. They sing a cover of the Little Richard song “Rip It Up.”
The lyrics express all a young person desires from the weekend. They’ve just been paid, and now they want to spend it, go out of the house, and have a good time. It’s a song that truly hits home with teenagers. The song peaked at No. 30 in the United States and No. 4 in the United Kingdom. But it was not the only noteworthy aspect of the song in the film.
The dancing, rather than the music, is the most memorable aspect of Bill Haley & The Comets’ scene. Early rock & roll was still heavily influenced by swing music. Early rock concerts were staged in gyms or small clubs rather than stadiums.
This was dance music. And how did those dancers move! There were several lifts, spin-outs, and other athletic displays. Women help their male partners up. Guys launch ladies into the air, way over their heads.
Early rock was one of the final times when partner dances were prominent. Everything would become considerably more personalized in the future. These classic rock dance routines provide a fascinating glimpse into a period when teenage culture was beginning to shift dramatically.
What are your favorite old film moments? Let’s discuss it in the comments!