William John Clifton Haley

William John Clifton Haley was born 6th July 1925 at Highland Park, Michigan. His father, William Albert Haley
was from Firebrick, Kentucky. His mother, Maude Green was English, she came from Ulverston in Lancashire and emigrated to the States during her teens. Later the family moved to Boothwyn, near the town of Chester,
Pennsylvania. At home, Bill was surrounded by music, his father played Banjo, his mother who had been classically trained, taught piano. His first performances date from about 1938, when as a child he sang and played guitar at
variety shows, put on by local children to raise money for local causes. Haley was a shy child, perhaps due to
the fact that he had been blind in his left eye since infancy.  This made him extremely self conscious about his appearance. In his late teens, Bill found work playing the local amusement parks, which featured live entertainment.
His first break came when he signed on with 'Cousin Lee's Band' who had a popular radio show. Haley sang,
played his guitar and yodelled. Because of his disability, he avoided being called into the armed forces in WWII.
At this time a group called the 'Downhomers' were looking for a singing yodeller to replace their lead singer, who
had been drafted in 1944. Haley joined the group and even at this early stage was talking about combining country
and pop music. At the age of 22, Bill left the 'Downhomers', and returned to Chester to host a local radio
programme. At this time he also married his childhood sweetheart Dorothy Crowe a beautiful part American
Indian girl.

the Four Aces of Western Swing
In 1948, Bill released his first records on the 'Cowboy' label with his backing group  the
'Four Aces of Western Swing', made up of  Al Constantine (Accordian), Barney Barnard (bass) and Tex King (guitar).

'Within This Broken Heart Of Mine' - Click here to listen.

the Saddlemen
The 'Four Aces' disbanded in mid '49 and Haley formed a new band, 'The Saddlemen' which in turn was
ultimately to become the very first rock and roll band in history, the 'Comets'. Al Rex on bass, Billy Williamson
on steel guitar and  John Grande played piano and accordian. Haley fronted this group wearing a ten-gallon
stetson covering his trademark kiss-curl, a hair style he developed to take attention away from his blind eye.

Bill Haley & Elvis Presley
Bill Haley Lyrics
Midi Collection