“Rock Around the Clock” (Bill Haley & His Comets)

When I.G. Blanchard and the Reverend Jessie H. Jones penned the most popular American labor song of the nineteenth century, “Eight Hours” (1878), they imagined a hard-working man as having “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest,” and eight hours to “feel the sunshine” and “smell the flow’rs.” But this successful demand for limitations on the length of the working day can only be deciphered from within capitalism’s prior imposition of clock time, and it’s this root cause which rock’n’roll disputes without overcoming. “Rock Around the Clock’s” surreal twenty-two hour shift (with breaks at noon and midnight) leaves no time for the great outdoors or contemplation. It’s a serious business, this constantly jumpin’ at one’s leisure.


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