Tony De Feo
Myers Music Inc (ASCAP)
1956 (or early 1957)
Of Tony De Feo I known nothing. He was perhaps the Tony De Feo who was a member of The Hallmarks (Ricky and the Hallmarks on Amy Records, early sixties).
Owner of Myers Music and Richloy Records was James E. Myers. James Myers started as drummer and performer, leading his own band, Jimmy DeKnight & His Knights of Rhythm.
My father made portable metal bandstands for us, put lights on them, with a drawing of a knight in armor, holding a lance, riding a musical note, and that was our trademark. For a long time we went under that name and performed all over the Delaware Valley. We had a 22 piece orchestra at some locations and if they couldn't afford that, we'd cut down to 15 or whatever they could afford. Sometimes, we'd play clubs with just a trio or a quartet.
In 1946, after four years of combat in the South Pacific, and being away from performing music for so long, Jim Myers didn't feel like going back to playing drums. He became a music publisher, a record producer and a promoter. Then he wrote his first big hit :
I wrote and copyrighted "Rock Around The Clock" in 1953. I had written the melody and about half of the lyrics, but I was having trouble with the rest of it. Max Freedman, who had written some other songs with me, walked into my office while I was fooling around with it one day and said, "That sounds pretty good, can I help you with it?" I said, "Why not?" When we finished it he said, "What are you going to call it?" I said, "Rock Around The Clock." And he said, "Why Rock, what's that mean? Why not "Dance Around The Clock? And I said, "I just have a gut feeling and since I'm half writer and whole publisher, I'm the boss! Right!" So, we called it "Rock Around The Clock."
When I showed it to Bill Haley he flipped over it, but his record company at that particular time, said it would never sell. He recorded two versions of it, but they never released them.
Then Jack Howard, who had Arcade Records at that time, said he wanted to record it with a group that he had called, Sonny Dae & His Knights. They were first to release the song and it was a big hit locally. It sold thousands of records in the Delaware Valley, but Jack didn't know how to promote it nationally.
A year later, Haley came to me and said, "Jim, my contract is up, can you get me on a major label?" I said, "I think so, what's the deal?" He said, "I'll record one of your songs on one side of every release." I said, "That sounds good to me!"The major label was Decca and the first song recorded by Bill Haley was "Rock Around The Clock", It's sold over 200 million copies to date, it's been recorded by more than 500 artists in 32 languages,