Johnny Grande, an original member of Bill Haley and His Comets who played piano on their hit “Rock Around The Clock,” died June 3 in Clarksville, Tenn. He was 76.
Born in Philadelphia, Grande recorded more than 40 records, including four that went gold. He played piano on hits like “See You Later, Alligator” and “Rockin’ Through the Rye.” He helped arrange albums like “Rockin’ Around the World.”
“Rock Around the Clock” was recorded in 1954 and was a No. 1 hit for eight weeks before going on to sell 22 million copies worldwide, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It gained new popularity when it was chosen for the soundtracks of the movies “The Blackboard Jungle” in 1955, a film named for the song in 1956 and “American Graffiti” in 1974.
Grande was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1997. Haley is the only member of the group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.