Marshall Lytle (The Comets) R.I.P., May 25, 2013







Material submitted by Marshall Lytle a/k/a Tommy Page.


COMETS on MYSPACE
www.originalcomets.org
Wikipedia: Marshall Lytle
Wikipedia: The Jodimars


VIDEOS
  • Jodimars: Dick performing "Dance The Bop"
  • Jodimars: Let's All Rock Together - Dick Richards and group vocals
  • Jodimars: Marshall, "Lotsa Love"
  • Jodimars: Shoo Sue - Marshall Lytle vocals
  • Jodimars: Well Now Dig This - Dick Richards vocals
  • 2004 UK Haley/Comets Feature
  • See You Later Alligator
  • Dick Richards' Recent Drum Solo




    Bill Haley's Original Comets
    21st Century Electronic Press Kit



    Newer posts are at the top







  • Update: October, 2012





    If you have not seen the
    Trailer for The Columbian Connection
    Here it is, I am only seen in a quick warehouse scene, with my Captain's hat. Checkout the whole film, it's a very exciting movie.
    I am so pleased that The Columbian Connection is now in the marketplace. I am also excited about doing another featured role in the new family film. Christmas In Hollywood (Florida that is) This is my 2nd of my new film career. "Still Rockin' Around The Clock". Is on schedule for March-April 2013. ÊI have been invited to do another Festival in Houston TX. On November 3rd. The Orange Festival at the Crown Plaza Hotel.
    We Love You All,
    Marshall & Cathy



    Photos below posted May 14, 2012

    This was 1948-9


    Early 1953


    Looks like 1950 with my mentor Tex King on Guitar and Merle Fritz on Steel Guitar. That'sÊGibson I bought from Tex for 25.00 and sold it to Bill Haley for 30.00. I wonder where it is today?


    1951, doing a guest shot on Radio WPWA the accordion Player was Dick Thomas writer and recording artist. His biggest hit was "Sue City Sue"


    1950


    Bill Haley & The Comets 1953






    Imbedded in the floor of the Cleveland Airport
    Kinda like a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


  • Marshall featured in Tampa, FL newspaper



    I was chosen to speak for The Comets. I had to Thank a few people who made it all possible in a very brief amount of time. HBO will be showing The Hall of Fame Induction program on May 5, 2012. This moment was the Highlight for me to remember forever, on April 14,2012. I am still on cloud 9. There were about 8,000 people in the Hall and How many Millions around the world will will be seeing the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Program. Many Thanks to Terry Stewart and All The Others that made it Possible. We are All, "Still Rockin' Around The Clock".
    Marshall Lytle



    Two of my best friends: Bob Timmers and Bill Haley Jr.
    Cleveland, Aril 14, 2012


    Interview:
    ... with Rock's 1st Bassist Marshall Lytle by Mark Lewis, April 7, 2012



    Induction into R&R Hall of FAME
    The announcement was made today 2-9-12 (31st anniversary of Bill Haley's Death) by the R&R Hall of Fame and April 14, 2012 is the induction date. 58 years after recording "Rock Around The Clock" and 59 years ago, Crazy Man Crazy, and 60 years ago Rock This Joint. We will be in Cleveland to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. On behalf of ALL The Comets. Thank you, Terry Stewart, President, R&R HOF for making it happen.
    Still RATC,
    Marshall Lytle



    Update: December, 2011

    Pinup America Magazine
    I just received my copy of Pinup America Magazine. I did a featured article with writer Greg Laxton called "Puttin' The Rock in Rockabilly" The Comets, Marshall Lytle. I believe it to be one of the best interviews I have ever done, with a lot of great old photos from the early fifties. Pinup America can be bought at most Stores that sells magazines. Even Wal-mart carries it. Pick up your copy and see what's going on. I'm proud of this article. It can ordered online at www.PinUpAmericaStore.com. Also my book "Still Rockin' Around The Clock" is now available for Kindle at www.amazon.com/kindle for $9.99. Wishing you The Best Happy New Year 2012.
    We Love You All, Marshall & Cathy




    Posted December, 2011 - Joel Katz- Jimmy Jay- Marshall Lytle in Sandy & Dave's Suite on the Grand Princess for an interview on Jimmy Jay's Rewind Show.




    Marshall and Robert Thorne one of the stars of the film
    he did last fall in Tarpon Springs Fl. Called "Through The Eye".



    Marshall doing a live show called Rock Around The Clock Sox Hop
    with his friend DJ Jimmy Jay in Indianapolis last year.



    Bertie Higgins and Marshall Lytle at the Premiere of the film "Through The Eye" in Palm Harbor Florida on October 5, 2011, shown at Movico 10 on Hwy 19 at 8 PM. The film was shown in 2 theatres to handle the overflow. It was really cool the see my image, playing the part of Captain Morgan on the Big Screen. I thought it was a Formal affair so I dress for it. Love you ALL
    Marshall & Cathy



    Update: September, 2011

    Hi, Cathy and I have just returned from the UK, where Jimmy Jay and Marshall did 3 sold out shows, and 2 of them want us back ASAP. The other one was a retirement party for Roger Johnson. Our Buddy Jimmy Jay DJ did an extra show in London and hit a home run, they want him back again & again & again. We used a local band from around the Leeds UK area called The Meerkats,and they did a great job backing my show. The 17 year old sax player, Ruth Taylor was awsome.
    We had wonderful hosts, The Roger Johnson Family, Roger, Rita, Richard and Ruth, we fondly call her Little Miss Rock & Roll. They made us feel extra special, and showed us places in England that we would not have seen without them. We are hoping to have them as our house guests when they can come to Floridaaaaa.
    Cathy and I are leaving tomorrow, on the 22nd, for a trip to Louisville, Ky to visit family and grand babies for a couple of days. Then we will stop by Branson, next Monday 26th for a Monday nite dinner with some dear friends, then we plan on picking up some more personal items from my home and bring them back to our home in Florida.
    Things are getting busy for us, with the Florida Premiere of our Movie "Through The Eye", and some time, in the next few days, we are waiting on a call with the possibility of going to Hollywood to film a documentary for a Russian Film Company about aging. On October 21st we Drive to Palm Beach for a 2 day cruise to Nassau.
    On December 3rd the 7 day Harmon travel oldies Doo Wop Cruise. They are flying Cathy and I back to Tampa on Dec. 7th so we can fly to Pittsburgh Pa.on Dec. 8th for a Richard Nader Doo Wop Reunion X Show on Dec 9th at the Consol Energy Center, with a star studded Show of the best of the best. Then Back home for the Holidays.
    On Feb. 3rd I will be doing a show at the Winter Dance Party in Clearlake, Iowa, as Guest artist with Big Sandy and The Fly-rite Boys. Gonna be a lot of fun, fun, fun. I hope to see you there.
    Love to you All.
    Marshall & Cathy




    Just thought I would give you an update. On July 5th Cathy and I left Branson and drove back to our home in New Port Richey, Florida. We arrived on Wednesday 6th. Cathy packed my Van and her car before we left and unpacked them when we arrived. She is so good and I was not much help, but tried to stay out of the way. We brought everything important for a long stay. We will be using Tampa Bay as our main show business address. A few days before we left, I decided to list my house for sale for what it appraised for 6 years ago when I purchased it. If it sells OK, if it doesn't OK. We could even sell it furnished but if it doesn't sell, we will probably be back in Branson next spring to see what's going on. We are going to the UK in September to do 2 maybe 3 shows with our good buddy Jimmy Jay called "Rock Around The Clock Sox Hop". We are doing the December 9th Richard Nader, Doo Wop Show in Pittsburgh Pa. Bill Haley's Comets, as part of a great show. I just had an offer to do 2 Cruises one in October and one in Dec. I am also working on doing a few shows in Florida with my Good Buddies, Buck Trent, and Kenny Parrott, and myself. A little Country and little Rock & Roll. We hope all of you have a good year (and I don't mean the Tire) ... we are missing you already. So come on down to Florida! We love ya'll,
    Marshall & Cathy - marshall-tommy@suddenlink.net



    Updated: October, 2010




    Hi You All, I want to share some photos taken by my good friend John Freed. I am now part owner of the Branson Central Dinner Theatre. We are opening on July 1st with a dinner show, Starting with dinner at 5pm and Show at 7 PM, featuring one of Branson Favorite Shows "50's at The Hop". In a few weeks we will have Another favorite entertainer Jimmy Nickolas at his keyboards, doing what only Jimmy knows how to do. Also his BW Debbie will be serving your favorite drinks. They are in the photo with me, we are looking forward to their opening night. The photo in the kitchen is General Manager Sam Shaler and myself. The Theatre will have a NO SMOKING policy and will be a gathering place for the friends you didn't know you had. We are also looking for a Breakfast Show and a 2 PM show. I hope you can stop by and say hello to the original Bill Haley's Comet that is still Rockin' Around The Clock".
    I Love you All,
    Marshall Lytle




    JODIMARS - "Rattle Shakin' Daddy"




    Bill Haley & The Comets 1955, (I am the 1st on the left). For those that don't know what we looked like 55 years ago,:o). Hiding behind me is Dick Richards, Billy Williamson, Band guy, Harry (Reds) Broomal holding the cake, I don't know who the guy is next to him, then Johnny Grande, and Joey Ambrose. Looks like Bill's Birthday July 6, 1955.
    Marshall




    This is one of the first photos of Bill Haley & The Comets 1952.
    I am the sole serviving member of that original group.
    I Love You All,
    Marshall Lytle



    "Still Rockin' Around the Clock"
    A Review by Kurt L. Moore
    Branson Entertainment Columnist

             Marshall Lytle, bassist for Bill Haley's Original Comets, takes us with him on a colorful and fascinating journey through the history of Rock and Roll. Marshall is the ultimate and perfect guide for this nostalgic trip back through time, because he was in on the very start of it all. He is the real deal and literally lived the history day by day. Marshall was one of the original Comets and Bill Haley's Comets started it all with their recording of "Rocking the Joint." That particular recording was playing on the radio with a late night disc jockey named Alan Freed. Alan was away from his mike and did not realize it was still hot. During the first playing of the record Alan was snapping his fingers and yelling, Rock baby, Roll baby, over and over. After the record had played, the station's switchboard lit up with people from all over requesting some more of that "Rock and Roll." That song was played many, many times that night. That is when and where the craze that affected us all really began.
             Marshall tells an honest and true history of the Comets through his eyes and the eyes of others. This fascinating tale of musical adventure may be rivaled only by the tales of O'Henry and his immortal Cisco Kid.
             There is a downside to any business and the music business is no exception. Marshall tells it all without whitewashing and without degrading. It is a delicate tightrope to walk and Marshall walks it well.
             This book is made even more interesting with the forward being written by Peter Ford, son of the late Glenn Ford, star of "The Blackboard Jungle." The Comet's signature recording of "Rock Around the Clock" was used in that movie and that in turn allowed it to be the very first million selling "Rock and Roll" recording.
             Marshall Lytle has lived many lives during the years covered in this book but the last chapters will be the most adventuresome and have yet to be written. I am sure there will be a later addition to this book as Marshall's life continues to evolve. Stay tuned for updates because Marshall Lytle is "Still Rockin' Around the Clock."



  • JANUARY 12, 2010 - "I am down in Florida with Cathy waiting for it to warm up. I'm walking with two sticks now, building up confidence to walk without them. We will be filming the Movie called 'Through The Eye' in Tarpon Springs, Florida during the month of March. Because of outdoor shooting schedule, the weather will be much better then. This is from Bertie Higgins, Producer and CEO of Cayo Largo Productions. We will be heading back to Branson in April. I will be putting together a new show called 'Still Rockin' Around The Clock'"
    - Marshall



  • Whether you are a Billy Joel fan or not, you probably remember his great song "We Didn't Start the Fire."
             Here it is, set to pictures - had to share this one. It's a fabulous flashback through the past half century. Turn up volume, sit back and enjoy a review of over 50 years of history in less than 3 minutes! Thanks to Billy Joel and some guy from the University of Chicago with too much time to Google!
             I wonder how many of the images those under 40 will recognize from the early part of the song? You might have to watch this more than once. The picture of Bill Haley and The COMETS was taken in early 1953. I feel very honored and lucky to be the only one left in that early group of Original COMETS and to be a part of history in this famous video.
    Click here: We Didn't Start The Fire
    Love and Happiness in 2010 to You All.
    Marshall Lytle, "Still Rockin' Around The Clock"
    January 1, 2010



    November 17, 2009 - Hi Everyone, We arrived safe in Floridaaaa, two days ago,and the weather is 75-80 degrees. :o) I am thrilled to be on Flat land for a change it is a lot easier to learn to walk if it's flat. My new leg is doing real good and I am progressing every day. I am looking forward to doing Bowzer's Holiday Rock & Roll Party with THE COMETS in Melbourne Fl. On Dec. 10th and Ruth Echard Hall in Clearwater Fl. On Dec.11th. Yesterday Cathy's Dad Robert Rutter had his 90 birthday, and his 5 Daughters gave him a Surprise Birthday Dinner that he will never forget. One of the Daughters set it up for her and her husband to take him out to a Birthday dinner. He did NOT KNOW that the other 4 Daughters and Their Families would be waiting inside the restaurant when they arrived. He was overwhelmed with joy.
             I am getting ready for my new career in 2010, My Agent/Manager, Marc Mencher - www.Actionpackedevents.com - Is working on many dates through out Europe and UK. Also a lot shows here in The USA. I will keep you informed.
             My book "Still Rockin' Around The Clock "is selling very well on www.Amazon.com. I will be doing some TV talk shows and local newscast here in the Tampa Bay Area very soon. Also I will be Filming my part in the New Bertie Higgins Film "Through The Eye" during January 2010. I will be returning to Branson for my new show to begin in April 2010. More to follow soon.
    I LOVE YOU ALL,
    Marshall & Cathy


  • Marshall featured in Bass Player Interviews.



    Hi Everyone, guess which one has the prosthesis? Answer, they both do. That is my Prosthetist/Orthotist, Wm. David Horrell, CPO. I received my new leg today October 26th. Learning to walk on it is my next goal and most of my learning done at home since we closed the season at Andy Williams Theatre on October 24th. I do plan on being able to walk without assistance before Thanksgiving. The Original Comets have two more shows on Dec 10 in Melbourne Florida and Dec 11th at Ruth Echard Hall Clearwater Florida With our Buddy BOWZER and his Holiday Rock & Roll Party.
    See Ya Later Alligator,
    Marshall



    Oct. 19, 2009 - Hi Everyone, here is a photo of me with my new prosthesis, I actually walked with my new leg. Of course I was holding on to the rails. After some minor corrections with my leg I should be able to walk better next week. It is going to work real good. I should be walking alone by Thanksgiving.
    I Love You All,
    Marshall



  • Marshall "Hot Rod" Lytle, October 12, 2009.




    Marshall Lytle Update
             An Update from Branson 10-3-09 - "Hello Everyone, I am so lucky to be back onstage, just three weeks after my last amputation above the knee on September 10th. At the present time I am doing the show from a sitting position in my wheelchair.
             My healing process is doing great, all the staples (stitches) have been removed, and we are getting ready to be fitted for my new leg, which will take about another 4 weeks, plus whatever time it will take me to learn how to walk on it. I am thinking that by Thanksgiving, I should be up and walking on my new leg. That will really be something to be thankful for. I have SOOO much and so many people to thank for helping me get through this crisis, especially, the LOVE of My Life, Cathy, She is MY ROCK, and I Am Her ROLL.
            My new book "still ROCKIN' AROUND THE CLOCK" is doing very well on Amazon.com We haven't yet been able to do any book promotions, but they will be coming later in the year. I want to personally thank those of you that have bought my book and those that have given those wonderful comments on Amazon.com. My little SMART CAR is now a traveling billboard for my book. More to come later. I LOVE YOU ALL."
    Marshall



    Marshall Lytle Update
             September 18, 2009 - "This is an news update on my present condition, and it is improving everyday. I was released from the hospital this morning 9-18-09 at 10:am. I was in front of my computer at 10:30 going over 798 emails. I felt this was important to let you ALL know that I will be back on stage in 12 Days Rockin with The COMETS at Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson at 2 PM Oct. 1 - 24.
             My Doctor Is very proud of the way my leg wound is healing. We have now moved into the limb shrinking process, with a compression sock that will help my leg get ready for my new leg and foot. My new Knee hinge will be computerized, WOW.
             I am Sooo excited about the way my book is being accepted by the wonderful people that have read it. There was a lot of it that was left on the cutting room floor, and a lot of photos that I wanted in that was left out. After a talk with my publisher, Michael Rush, who explained that, we wanted a book that would be acceptable to the talk show media. They are against promoting books that are of the scrapbook type full of a lot of photos and no basic story line. I guess our editor did a great job. I wanted the book to be easy to read and I pushed for a 14 point type font, that made the words a little larger. I use a size 14 point font on my emails. The larger part of our readers really like the larger type. Some can even read it without their glasses. :o)
             I want to thank all of you in Germany and the UK that went ahead and got the book at Amazon.com. We have been trying hard to get it setup with Amazon.de and Amazon.UK. I am not sure where we are with that at the moment.
             2010 will be a big year me, I will be able to tell you soon about my NEW SHOW, "Still ROCKIN AROUND THE CLOCK," and some of the places you can see me and my show.
             I also want to thank my Wonderful Lady, Cathy Smith, my Rock Solid Love of my life, that has been beside me night and day since this nightmare started on August 24th. She does make sure that I follow the doctors orders. Thanks to my wonderful group of entertainers and friends that have been behind me 100% with their love and support. And ALL OF YOU that read ths message, you are my dearest friends on earth. I LOVE YOU ALL. MAY GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU."

    Marshall



    Marshall Lytle Health Update
             September 6, 2009, Branson, MO - "Marshall took himself to ER a week ago Tuesday with severe foot pain. He had an aneurysm which produced a blood clot that broke up and stopped the flow of blood to his foot. A week ago Thursday his leg was amputated below the knee. He is progressing extremely well, his goal is to be back on stage with the Original Comets on October 1. It looks like there is a very strong possibility he will make it.
             He is in Acute Rehab at Skaggs Hospital, and trying his best to make all the other patients smile by entertaining them. We are not sure how long he'll be in (two or three weeks) nor do we know when he will be fitted with a prothesis. He has a great attitude and high spirits.
             Last night at the hospital he had six visitors so they sent us to the gym to sit around a table. We had such a wonderful visit and I think it did him a world of good. He is working so hard to get back on his feet, and it shows.
    "
    Cathy Smith




    Marshall Lytle Career Changes

             August 18.2009 - "I really hope that you will look at this and NOT have to choose any loyalties to any of us. At the end of December I will be leaving The Comets, after 20+ years, it is time to just move on. Joe and Dick will continue on as the Comets with my best wishes.
             However, I have made an agreement with Dick & Joe to work (if I am available) some selected 2010 shows and tours that require All three Original Comets to be on the show.
             My new book "Still Rockin' Around The Clock" will be out on Amazon.com in two weeks. We are off from Andy Williams the month of Sept. We are doing a show with Bowzer on Sept. 14th in Hershey Pa. The others are going home after the Bowzer Show and I am spending a few days in the Phila/NYC area to visit my family, and see if I can do some talk shows for the book. My publisher is from the Phila Area. He is setting up some interviews.
             We are back at Andy Williams Theatre on October 1st until Oct 24th. Then we are off the month of November and Dec. Except for TWO date in Florida with Bowzer at the Kings Center in Melbourne, Dec. 10th and Ruth Echard Hall in Clearwater on Dec. 11th. And that is it.
             My future plans, are the do the Caya Largo Production Film called "Through The Eye" with my friend Bertie Higgins, in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
             2010 will be an interesting year. I will be promoting my book at every chance, and I have several options, that I am investigating. I may do a single and do Shows with a house Band like Charlie Gracie and Wanda Jackson and many others. My show will be called the same as the title of my book "Still Rockin'Around The Clock" featuring Marshall Lytle. The other options, I will talk about later. I LOVE YOU ALL, See Ya Later Alligator."
    Marshall - marshall-tommy@suddenlink.net




  • FROM MARSHALL LYTLE: Here is something that makes me very proud. My old doublebass (That I played on "Rock Around the Clock" and other Haley hits). It is on Display at The World's Largest, Rard Rock Cafe, in Universal, City Walk, Orlando, Florida. They had me come over and Sign it in February '09. This photo was taken recently by a dear friend Phillis Broadhead from Decatur, Alabama, when she and her husband made a special trip to The Hard Rock Cafe just to see and photograph, that little bit of Rock & Roll History. This picture will have a place of honor in my new book, soon to be released called Still "Rockin Around The Clock". I think by August 1st you should be able to get copies through Amazon.com. I will send out the release date as soon as I have it. I LOVE YOU ALL, Marshall. marshall-tommy@suddenlink.net (Posted July 11, 2009)



    .
  • The Comets performing with Peter Krause



  • MARSHALL LYTLE Branson Interview





    HI EVERYONE. I am so excited about my new SMART CAR, I had to share a couple of photos. Our friend Jim Alkire flew Cathy and I over to Tulsa OK on Monday to pick it up at the dealer. I ordered it on the Internet almost a year ago with a $99.00 Reservation. They sold 30,000 in the USA with that program. When we got back to Branson on Monday Cathy was convenced and ordered herself a BLUE SMART CONVERTABLE. You can check them out at www.smartusa.com. They will get up and go, I was doing over 80 for a little bit and it was very stable and very comfortable with over 40 MPG.
    Still ROCKIN in BRANSON, Marshall





    This is a woman's arm in Sommerspoint NJ.
    This is only the second person that has had my name tatooed on their arm. The other one was a young man in Paris, with the photo of me standing on the double bass.




    HI EVERYONE. This photo is titled "COMETS Land on NASSAU". We had a great tour of the US NAVY Carrier The USS, Nassau , in port at Norfolk Va. Our tour was arranged by Chief Tommy Byrd, the son of our Piano Player and Proud Papa David Byrd. We have just returned from our recent sold out tour that started in San Francisco back on Jan. 31st and ended Feb. 22nd in Germany. We had a couple of days off in Virginia Beach and enjoyed the tour of the Norfolk Naval Base. Then we flew to Malaga Spain and did one show, and we had another day of sight seeing that was arranged by our dear friends that live near Malaga - Brian and Lucy Cornes. They showed us the real Spain, away from the tourist areas, we went up and over the mountains and visited some lovely towns and villages. Thanks to Brian and Lucy, The Comets built some more beautiful memories. I have a lot more photos to share soon. It's great to be back home in Branson, where we will open our third season at Dick Clark's AB Theater on March 14th thru Dec. 14, 2008 www.ab57.com.
    Love to All, Marshall



    January 28, 2008
  • I just found some Treasures. Photos taken at the Shelter Haven Hotel in Stone Harbor NJ in August thru Labor day 1952. I hope you enjoy this BIT OF HISTORY, Love, Marshall.


    Marshall, September 1st, his 19th birthday.


    All the Saddlemen and some friends in the Ballroom of the Shelter Haven.


    Marshall singing and Bill Haley plays his Bass.


    Bill Haley and the Saddlemen on stage.


    Marshall, Bill, Joe and his partner that played our intermissions,
    John Grande and Harry Broomall.


    Bill Haley and Marshall on the beach.



    This one was made with Marshall's camera at The Twin Bars in Glouscester, NJ. (Bill Haley And The Saddlemen)










  • WORTH A CLICK:
    Preview: The COMET'S NEW SINGLE







    Hi Everyone, It sure has been a very busy summer for the COMETS. We had our regular shows at Dick Clarks American Bandstand Theater in Branson Mo. Plus we did shows in ENGLAND, Lincoln Center, NEW YORK CITY, And in GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ. Here are some photos from the Show at Glocester City on July 14, 2007.
            The firt photo above is a wonderful dinner at Max's Seafood Cafe (The Best in Town). It looks like the City Fathers of Gloucester City are making plans to do this Celebration of ROCK & ROLL every year, and it looks like it could turn into something BIG. More information later. 
            Photo 2 is me standing on the same spot that I stood on 55 years earlier ... what Great Memories. Cuppy Haley and her family came to the Celebration, including Bill Haley Jr. (who we got up to Sing Rock The Joint and Rock Around The Clock with THE COMETS). He did a great job, The crowd loved him.
            Many of our old friends and family members showed up to wish us well and to enjoy some old time Rock and Roll. We are doing a Show on September 1st (My 74th Birthday) with our old buddy BOWZER and his R&R Show at the NEW YORK State Fair in Syrcacuse. Then right back to Branson MO. for our regular schedule a Dick Clarks AB theater on Sept. 4th.  We hope that you ALL can come see us in Branson. "The LIVE Entertainment Capital of America". Rock On & On & On. WE LOVE YOU ALL.
    Marshall
    www.theoriginalcomets.com">
    www.rockabillyhall.com/crazylytlepage.html>
    www.dickclarksabbranson.com>














    Hi Everyone, The show that The COMETS did on July 1st in Pakefield Near Lowestoff, England is now History. Ritchie Gee The Promoter, did a wonderful job organizing a parade on the afternoon of our show. A Few Hundred Fans showed up to say hello and see The Comets. Joey, Dick, and Marshall got to Ride in the beautiful Rolls Royce Pink Car from The Thunderbirds in the photo with 4 front wheels is one of just 2 in the world. But this one is the only car that runs. The other is a replica in a museum that doesn't run. The little toy car in the drivers fingers was the model for the design. David Byrd, and Jackson Haney had to ride in a 1929 Rolls Royce Taxi Cab.  
             As the photos show there were many people that loved Bill Haley enough to have his/and our  image tatooed on their bodies, and painted on their jackets. The Concert called The Wildest Cats in Town was a sellout. We left for the return flight home at 4 AM without going to bed. We arrived at Gatwick Airport at 7 AM and it took us 2 hours just to get through security. The lines were all the way out into the streets. The security system was on high alert because of the recent car booms in London theater District and The Glasgow Airport. We did arrive back home in Branson Mo. Last night on time to get some rest and go back to work at The Dick Clark AB Theater today at 2 PM.
             Don't forget to come see us at The Lincoln Center on July 11th in NYC 8-10 PM also July 14th at Gloucester City NJ at Broadway and Market Streets for the big celebration Of the Marker installation and Show ,with The ORIGINAL COMETS and Charlie Gracie and other exciting Acts and Special guests, including Bill Haley Jr. That I have invited to sing "Rock This Joint" with me. The functions start at 2 PM until 7 PM the COMETS are on at 5;30 PM . This is All in front of the old Twin Bars where we first did Rock This Joint in 1952 with Bill Haley and The Saddlemen, That became THE COMETS.
             We Love You All, Come See Us.













    June 11, 2007 - Hi Everyone, Here is a little update from Branson Mo. About www.theoriginalcomets.com and some of our friends and goings on via photos I hope you enjoy them The first friend is Glen Campbell and myself. Then our buddy Fabian Forte and our Friend and Promoter from Munich, Germany, Klaus Kettner.
             The next shot is of the approx. 8,000 people at The Mohegen Sun Casino for The Bowzer Rock & Roll Party on Sat Nite June 9th. There was a big line up of stars. Bowzer & The Stingrays with Johnny Contardo (Runaway). Most of the acts were backed by the Great music of our Friends ROCKY & THE ROLLERS, Jimmy Clanton" Venus in Bluejeans", Dee Dee Sharp "Mash Potato Time", Marrilee Rush "Angel In The Morning", Eddie Holman  "Hey There Lonely Girl", Bobby Lewis "Tossin & Turnin", Sam The Sham " Hully Gully", Joey Dee and the Starlighters, The Crickets "Peggy Sue".
             Then The Original Comets. Rocked and left the hotel at 4 AM for the return flight to Branson. Next is a photo of Bowzer and The COMETS. Then with Sam The Sham. We also got to see our good buddy, Jimmy Jay from The Rewind Show, www.rewindshow.com We start another week at Dick Clarks AB Theater Tuesday June 12-17th then a week off and Then Off to London, England on June 28th for a big Festival on July 1st, called The "Wildest Cats In Town" near Lowestoff UK.
             Then Fly back on July 2nd and Open again at Dick Clarks AB Theater on July 3-8th. On July 10th we fly to NYC for show at The Lincoln Center on July 11th called "Mid Summer Nights Swing". And July 14th THE COMETS drive down from NYC to Gloucester City NJ. The City is putting on a Big Outdoor Show & a Historical Marker up in front of the Old Twin Bars, where I first joined Bill Haley and The Saddlemen in 1951 as the new Bass Player.   I had just turned 18 and a few months later in 1952 we Recorded "ROCK THIS JOINT" which is considered to be the beginning of ROCK & ROLL. The marker ceremony will be at 4 PM and The shows start around 4:30 with Charlie Gracie then The COMETS around 5:30.  This is ALL FREE to the public, and we are expecting a very large crowd.   Just Think, 55 years later. There are new owners of the Twin Bars and they are having a grand re-opening.
             Then We fly back to Branson, Mo. On July 15th,. We open again at Dick Clarks AB Theater on July 24 thru August 16th. Our schedule can be viewed at www.dickclarksabbranson.com. You All Come see us in Branson with more theater seats than NYC. WE LOVE YOU ALL. Marshall





    If you have not seen this site ITS COOL: www.myspace/theoriginalcomets, also www.theoriginalcomets.com will have new photos from BRANSON showing my Beautiful New KING Double Bass that I AM SO PROUD to ENDORSE.



    Here are two photos. The 1st one is The Original COMETS and The Great ANDY WILLIAMS in Branson. The 2nd one is The Wonderful CHARO: L to R, Marian and Joe D'Ambrosio, Charo, Marshall, and Dick Richards. On our night off (Monday) we went to see the great show at the Moon River theater Starring Andy and Charo the Gucci- Gucci Girl. It was a wonderful show. More photos later. We Love You All, Marshall







    Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire"
    If you like Bill Joel, this is a must. See your Life flash on the screen. The flash of Rock Around the Clock is from the Movie RATC and the band shown is Freddie Bell and the Bellboys. Enjoy the music and photos! Aimed at the Baby Boomers ...
    Here's the link!



    MARSHALL'S HEALTH: March 21, 2007 - Two days before I left for our recent tour of Europe I had a biopsy on my Prostate. And after about 10 days of our tour, I received this e mail from my Doctor. I got home 2 days ago and I have had my first meeting with my Doctor yesterday and he explained all my options, and told me that my chances of a full recovery are very good. The first 30 days is for treatment with hormones, then some light radiation daily. He said there should be no effects on my show biz career. The shows will go on as scheduled. I am feeling great and having the Time of My Life. I rode my Scooter for 2 hours today, It was 80 degrees here in Branson. We open at The DC AB Theater next Friday March 30th. It's going to be another great year in Branson. I thought it would be ok to tell all my family and my loved ones and my dearest friends, with this short note. It is easier than trying to call everyone. The website has been updated with our new schedule www.dickclarksabbranson.com. You All come See Us. I love You ALL.
    Marshall/Tommy

    Some more photos from our recent tour below ...










    TOUR OF EUROPE: Hi Everyone, This is an update and some photos of our recent TOUR OF EUROPE. We started off in Berlin Germany ,arriving on Feb.22nd and going directly to a short show for the News Media. It was very well organized. Our first 6 concerts were in East Germany, (part of Germany that is growing fast and recovering from Communist Rule) and The COMETS were so pleased the have the greatest opening Act possible. THE FIREBIRDS, www.thefirebirds.de they are the best. They got the crowd so worked up with their 50 & 60's music, the audience just loved them and when The COMETS hit the stage they were really ready for us. We did our regular 1 hour and 15 minutes and then called The Firebirds back onstage to do The SAINTS ROCK & ROLL with us as a finale. It was the Best tour of Europe that the COMETS have ever done. Many thanks go to our dear friends, The Firebirds, and also Klaus Kettner, Our Promoter, Manager and Friend from Munich.who has also just opened a fantastic Bill Haley & The Comets museum in Munich Germany, www.rockithydra.de and www.rock-it-concerts.eu. I hope that you can ALL visit there in the future. See Ya Later Alligator, Marshall. We Love You All.

















    Here is a photo of Max Daffner (black sweater on left) the drummer with The Jodimars. He is still a Realtor in Las Vegas and also plays Drums when the opportunity presents itself . Rockon Max.



    Comets Concert 1/27/07 - 25 show photos from the 2007 Cruise.
    Sitting so close actually gave the camera fits with auto focus and the lighting. Many of the pictures sadly were blurred so we did not include them here, but there are still some nice shots.




    Here is a COMETS Update FEB. 1, 2007 -- This photo is of one of the great ladies of show business Connie Francis, with Marshall Lytle on the Left and DJ Jimmy Jay on the right. Jimmy had and appointment at the end of our OLDIES CRUISE To Interview Connie at her beautiful home in Parkland, Florida. I was lucky to be standing with Jimmy when Connie was called to confirm the Interview,he told Connie that I was there and would like to meet her. Jimmy handed me his cell phone and said Connie wants to say hello. We spoke for a few minutes and she asked if I could come over with Jimmy Jay while he did the interview. I jumped at the chance. Jimmy did a Great interview for his Rewind Show, He asked all the right questions to get all the right answers. The Oldies Cruise 2007 was Fantastic. A good time was had by ALL.
    The COMETS will be in LAS VEGAS on Feb 10th at the Cannery Casino. Then we leave for Our European tour on Feb 21st looks like 22 shows in 4 Countries. We return on March 19th and open our 2nd season in Branson Mo. On March 30th. You All come see us ... We Love you All, Marshall






    The COMETS visited another great show in BRANSON, The Daniel O'Donnell Show. The house was packed with over 2,600 people that enjoyed his 3 hour show. This photo was backstage, Dick Richards, Marshall, Daniel O'Donnell, Jackson Haney, Moe Bandy, Joey Ambrose and wife Marian.








    Comets Update
    Comets Bassist MARSHALL LYTLE reports: "Hi Everyone, from Branson, MO. Here is a backstage photo of me and some of the Original Stars of AmericanBandstand Show. They are from Left to Right: myself, Chris Montez, Fabian, Bobby Vee, and Brian Hyland.
    The Original Comets are on every day (except Wed.) at 2PM. Still Rockin Around The Clock in Branson until December 9th. The COMETS will be off for Christmas, then on New Years Eve We will be at the Peppermill Casino in Wendover NV. Then on Jan 21 Thru 28, www.oldiescruise2007.com, a beautiful cruise thru the Western Caribbean. Come Join in the fun with Paul Revere and The Raiders, The Original Comets, The Buckinghams, The Grass Roots, and a lot more great entertainers. The Comets will be in Las Vegas on Feb. 10th at The Cannary Casino. On Feb 20, The Original Comets leave for a 20 Concert Tour of Europe Returning March 20th, and Starting our next Season in Branson on April 1st 2007. I will pass on the Schedule for the European tour soon. We love you all." -Marshall




  • October 24, 2006 - A BRANSON UPDATE.
    The Town is Packed with people, The COMETS are off for a few days to charge our batteries, We go at it again at 2 PM  on November 1st until Dec. 9th when the Dick Clark Theatre closes for the winter. We open again on April 1, 2007.
            This photo is Marshall and Roy Rogers Jr. With his Mom and Dad King of The Cowboys,   Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. I really brought back a lot of childhood memories, when I visited Roy Jr. And his great show about the old west. He sings really good and a wonderful band, plays all the favorite oldies.
            A few days ago The COMETS went to see Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers and Co Star Pam Tillis. It was a packed theater (about 2500 people) and a Wonderful Show.   As the show was ending,   Larry Gatlin introduced The Comets and invited us to come on stage. We did "Rock Around The Clock", and the crowd went wild. It is so heart warming the way all the Entertainers in Branson support each others shows. A couple of days later WE went to see Pam Tillis's Dad, MEL TILLIS, his show was terrific, and his 10 piece band was great. Mel is a real Class Act, and a real ICON here in Branson. There is so much going on here, I have got to go see some more shows. The weather is wonderful, The trees are almost at peak color. More to come. We love you All. Marshal



  • October 21, 2006 - Hi Everyone, Bob Cannela from On Stage Photos Has taken some good shots of us in Branson, MO. He also has the web site that we use to have www.theoriginalcomets.com and has taken some recent photos from Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater of The Original Comets on Stage, give a look.



  • October 21, 2006 - CHECK THIS: www.bransonbandstand.com.




    Shoji Tabuchi doing Rock Around The Clock in his show.




    Branson update:
    This is a photo of Myself , Paul Revere, and Darren Medley, in front of The 3 Wheel BIKE I rode for 5 hours yesterday. It was such a beautiful ride, we went to Bull Shoals Lake and State Park in Arkansas. We got back in time for our afternoon show at 2PM. I am having "The Time Of My Life" just like Bill Medley's Hit Song. Day before yesterday, (Sept. 20th) I played one of the BEST golf courses in the US. Branson Creek Golf and Country Club. I even played a good round of 90. We have some fans, from Vienna ,Austria visiting Branson, Erick and his wife, who are always in the front row every time The COMETS play in Vienna. We will be playing there again on March 12, 2007 during our upcoming European tour, arranged by Klaus Kettner. Playing All the shows that we do here in Branson, has made our shows very strong. The Comets have never sounded better. I wish you could ALL see us now. Still Rockin Around The Clock. We Love You All. MARSHALL.


    Mel Tillis came by to see us. He still looks good at 74, that makes him a year older than me. :0)


    The BIG sign is up and running, It shows short videos of the Shows that are on that day. WOW!!


    Tony Orlando, with The Original Comets, Joe, Dick, and Marshall, after the Show at Dick Clarks AB Theatre. Tony was blown away by our show.


    Here is a shot of The Comets and Dee Dee Lennon, of The Lennon Sisters









    MARSHALL REPORTS: "This is a new photo of The COMETS. Left is Guitarist and Vocalist Jackson Haney. Next Joey Ambrose, Dick Richards, Marshall Lytle, and on the right is pianist, D'Vaughn Pershing. We are having the time of our lives, in the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre in Branson, MO. Wish you could ALL come see us. The Sound system is THE BEST. There is only four like this in the USA. Every seat has the SAME sound. It is the latest state of the art sound system, and the best in Branson."




    Here is a shot of Mo Bandy and Me after a visit to catch The COMETS. All he could say is WOW! Recently I had dinner with Connie Stevens and Bill Medley. One of the few times that I didn't have my camera with me. She is still a beautiful woman. She saw our show and was knocked out.




    Paul Revere, Gary Lewis and Marshall at the Dick Clark Theatre.


    Fabian, Chris Montez, Glenn Patch, (the owner of the Dick Clark Theatre Complex) and Bobby Vee.


    This was a full page of photos of The COMETS, that just showed up last week in the local Branson Daily News. It was Not Paid for at all. That means that someone at the paper likes our show.


    I know that some of you were wondering what this is. It is one half of The TITANIC. It is a new Attraction with 400 artifacts from the Real Titanic. It is doing very well here, draws in a lot of people.




    Update on the Comets
             Branson, MO, July 3, 2006, from bassist Marshall Lytle - Hi to All, This is the first time I could report on The COMETS' progress since Johnny's passing. It was nice to see all the condolences sent out by so many. The old saying, that the Show must go on,is true and we did. We got very lucky with a replacement for Johnny. His name is D'Vaughn Pershing, he was brought to Branson MO 10 years ago by Andy Williams, as his conductor/pianist. He is an amazing musician and has played for a number of big stars. He loves being a COMET. He is 72, really fits in and we all love him. He is standing just behind me in the photo above.
             Another bit of news, Franny is retiring on July 9th. We will miss him and we have another guitar player that will start with The COMETS on July 17th. His name is Jackson Haney, from Oklahoma City. He is really good, sings and has a great personality. Jackson will be a wonderful addition to The COMETS. There is a review of our show at Dick Clarks AB Theatre www.1branson.com/forum/t20201.html. Love to all, Marshall












    Comets' Johnny Grande R.I.P.
                 The last member of Bill Haley's partners, John A. Grande, passed away in his sleep 2 June 06. Johnny was an active member of the COMETS to the very end. He had not been with the band in Branson for the last month due to illness and tests being run. John originally joined Bill Haley in 1949 and became his partner along with Billy Williamson.
                 Together they formed the Saddlemen. Later on, they became the core members and partners who formed the legendary COMETS. John was an arranger for the band and was on all the Holiday, Essex, Decca and Warner Brothers recordings. He left the band in 1962, and joined the reformed Comets who began touring again in 1989. We will all miss John on the bandstand, his professionalism, his dry wit and his smile.
                 Born in Philadelphia, Grande had 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 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. Grande is survived by his wife and four children.




    Hi Everyone, This is an update from Branson Mo.


    May, 10, 2006 - The photo is a ground breaking of a brand new Golf and Country Club Called "Murder Rock G & CC" that is being developed by Glenn Patch that is the builder and developer of The Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre. The people in the photo is The Comets, Mo Bandy, Shoji Tabuchi, Bill Medley, Glenn Patch, and Paul Revere. We were all made Charter members, FANTASTIC... The front nine will be playable by November 06. Branson is an AWSOME PLACE. You ALL come see us. Still Rockin Around The Clock, NOW at 2 PM.


    This is a shot of the show reader board at the AB Theatre showing our 2pm show time.


    This is what the outside sign will look like when is arrives in a few weeks. It will be a very large video screen, showing little video clips of all the starring acts at the theatre. It is huge. Until I get into my new home in a couple of weeks in Branson, I don't have a very good Internet connection. I can receive but hard to send. -Marshall


    Paul Revere, Marshall, and Bill Medley.


    Here is half of the Titanic sitting out in the Hills of Missouri. It is a very popular attraction.


    My favorite place to eat in Branson, in the Wal-mart Mall. -Marshall




    Comets in Benicia
    You can choose the photo to see from the thumbnail slide on left.




    When you have made it on the Little Pigs Bar-B-q. Sign ... You have made it (BIG) - Matt & Barb



     
    THE ORIGINAL COMETS from the Cabaret Theatre at The Mohegan Sun., Feb. 19th.



    The COMETS and CRICKETS at the Cabaret Theatre, Mohegan Sun Casino, February 11, 2006.



    Marshall with the real Crickets, Sonny, Joe B. and Jerry. A Great bunch of Entertainers. We had a ball working with them all week in this wonderful Cabaret Theatre, at Mohegan Sun Casino.



    It's 82 for Dick Richards, one of the Best Drummers in the World. This Beautiful B-Day Cake was brought form Boston for DICK RICHARDS by DJ, JIMMY JAY and his wonderful wife . Not only was the cake beautiful, but it sure tasted good. Thanks!



    Dick Richards blowing the 82 candles on his B-Day Cake.



    THE COMETS HIT ANOTHER HOME RUN LAST NIGHT AT THE MOHEGAN SUN. 5 standing Ovations - WOW. Marshall




     


    This bass belongs to Tommy Vee. Bobby Vee's son and Bass player. They Have a Family Band with Drummer Jeff Vee, and they are all wonderful players. But I think he needs a new Bass. :o) - Marshall



    COMETS 2006 SF & Cruise


    Here is a face that I had not seen in 53 years. This is Charlie Higler All grown up. Charlie was the FIRST Drummer that was ever photographed as a COMET. He was 16 then he is 70 now, he lives in Ft Lauderdale FL. And still plays the drums, but is retired from the Real Estate Appraising Business. We had a great visit before we began our Oldies Cruise the next day on Sunday . The photo has the wrong date it was 06 instead of 05. If you have the old 1953 photo of the COMETS you can see the aging process of Charlie and Myself.


    Charlie Higler and Marshall Lytle 1-27-06 in Ft Lauderdale FL. Charlie might love to hear from some of you. He might even like to join our group of Bill Haley Fans. His e mail is cjh@bellsouth.net.


    ANDY NORBLIN and FRANNY BEECHER. Two of the greatest guitar players in the world. Both without their ladies, but they enjoyed talking about guitars. Oh Well. :o) Rockon & On.


    This picture is most of the Entertainment from the oldies Cruise. The Back Row is Tammy of Harmon Travel, next to her is the great Bobby Vee, then Howard of The Turtles, the BIG Jack, of Harmon Travel, then, Mark of The Turtles, then the Wild Man of Rock & Roll Paul Revere and his great Band The Raiders. Every Show hit a home run with the audience, most of the audience signed up for next years www.oldiescruise2007.com. Oh, That is THE COMETS in the front row with our new baby Comet Andy Norblin, holding the sign. The Comets, and Paul Revere will be back next year starting at Jan 21st to 28th. Better get your tickets they're going fast. Don't forget that BRANSON grand opening March 17th is just around the corner. www.dickclarksbranson.com. Check the schedule and COME ON DOWN.


    THIS IS: Marian, Cathy, and I with Lorraine, Dave Thomas's Widow (Founder of Wendy's)


    YA GOTTA EAT!!


    IS THIS A GREAT GIG OR WHAT?
    The Jodimars think its The Best Retirement Plan Ever. (Joe - Dick - Marshall) in case you didn't know.





    MARSHALL: "I Have Always Said, IT'S A TOUGH JOB, BUT SOMEBODIES GOTTA DO IT"




    This is the Historic Majestic Theatre, in Benecia, Ca. On Jan. 14, 2006





     

     

    Bimbo's 365 Club San Francisco, 1-13-06
    Meet the newest COMET addition Guitarist Andy Norblin. We are very pleased, to have such a wonderful opportunity to work with him. We hope our association lasts a long long time. And according to ANDY he feels the same way. Rock on Brother. This is Still a lot of FUN, FUN, FUN. And I am very Thankful that I can still do it. Play the Bass that is. The COMETS are very excited about the future, and we are looking forward to the www.oldiescruise2006.com Jan. 29 thru Feb. 5th, 2006. Come on Along and Listen to a lot of great shows. Then The Mohegen Sun Casino on Feb. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Then get ready for www.dickclarksbranson.com grand opening on March 17th. You ALL Come, Ya, Hear. Rock on &on, Marshall




    This is a historical Place called THE TWIN BARS - where Rock & Roll was created in 1951 & 1952. I checked it out to see if there were any possibility of The Comets doing a show there for history. It has been gutted and looks nothing like it did then. The Twin Bars inside are gone, but the building is still there, and the side door is sealed up with bricks. This is where we did 5 - 45 min. shows a night 6 nights a week, plus a one hour LIVE Radio Show everyday. Billy, Johnny, and I, all made $60.00 per week except Bill got leaders pay of $90.00. Oh yes, those were days my friend. The COMETS, are taking a little time off until New Years Eve, when we Start up again at the Cherekee Casino in TULSA OK. A  big year 2006 looks like our best and busiest ever. Jan. 13, 14, 15, will be back in SAN FRANCISCO. Then The www.oldiescruise2006.com from Jan. 29th thru Feb. 5th ... ome JOIN us for a great time. Then we play the Celebrity Theatre at The Mohegen Sun Casino in Unicasville, CT. Feb. 8, 9, 10, 11, &12. Then it is off to BRANSON, for a grand opening on March 17th you can check our schedule at www.dickclarksbranson.com. We are really excited about our 2006 schedule. We hope you will be able to catch THE ORIGINAL COMETS at one of the above locations. Still Rockin. We Love You All.
    Marshall for The Original Comets.

    EDITOR's NOTE: We glad to report on what the "Original Comets" are doing NOW!
    -Bob Timmers, from the "Original Rockabilly Hall of Fame®."




    We have crossed the Elbe River, but never on a boat. WOW. - Marshall
    Water Bridge in Germany ... What a feat! Six years, 500 million euros, 918 meters long, now this is engineering! This is a channel-bridge over the River Elbe and joins the former East  and West Germany, as part of the unification project. It is located in the city of Maagdeburg near Berlin. The photo was taken on the day  of inauguration.



      Hi Everyone, This is a Review of the Show we just did in Cleveland on October 22nd 2005. 50 Years later. I thought you would enjoy reading it. We love you ALL, Marshall

    The Comets Rock Cleveland
    Hi all, I hope you will indulge me a bit as I recap the Saturday night, Oct 22 appearance by the Comets in Cleveland, OH. The event was a concert to celebrate the anniversary of Elvis Presley's 1955 appearance at a local high school. This was one of Elvis's first concerts outside of the south, and has become fairly well known here in Cleveland. Also on the bill that night - headlining in fact - Bill Haley and the Comets!
             SIDE NOTE- I asked one of the people involved with booking the show how they knew to get the the "real" Comets, and she said they had inside connections with the rock hall. Thank goodness for that! (The Comets had played a rock hall benefit in 2002, which is where I first saw them.) 
             It was at that 1955 show that the "Pied Piper of Cleveland" film was shot by dj Bill Randle. His daughter was in the audience. Terry Stewart, the president of the rock hall was  there, and he introduced her, and said she does not know where the film is. (Another friend at the concert told me the investors from England deny ever buying the film.)
             Well, before the show even started, I got my thrill of the night. This is a small auditorium, and there, just hanging out in the back was the band! Marshall was nowhere to be found, but it was great to say hello to Johnny and Joey again - I had the pleasure of meeting them a few years ago at that rock hall show.) At that time, I had not gotten to meet Franny and Dick, so that was super to see them before the show. (I got to complete my set of autographs on the Comets CD!)
             Anyway, the idea of this show was to get as many people to perform who were on the original show. I guess Pat Boone turned them down - I heard he was just too expensive. The show opened with the Four Lads - I think one guy is from the original band. They were OK - sort of like "Forever Plaid" come to life! The second performer was Priscilla Wright, who, in 1955 had a hit with a song called "The Man With the Umbrella"...Sadly, I think that song has been lost to music history. After an intermission, a guy named Walt Sanders did a 30 minute tribute to Elvis, and then...yes, headlining once again, the Comets!
             Terry Stewart introduced the band by saying "these guys rock" - and boy did they ever. It was great to see the audience enjoying it. I was a bit concerned about fatigue setting in - the Comets didn't start until 9:50 pm, and this was an older audience - many of the folks were at the show as teens in 1955. But they were brought back to life by the band's amazing performance. Several times the guys got a standing ovation (and I think I only started one of them!)
             Even though I had seen the band before, that was a short set, and I had the cheap seats. This time, I was 6th row center and loving every minute. It's too bad we couldn't all get up and dance! I knew the band would be fantastic, but very seldom are my expectations surpassed! The full set (close to 75 minutes) allowed the guys to really shine - Dick got to do a drum solo...Joey just blew the place down on that sax...Franny's Steel Guitar Rag was unbelievable...Johnny rocked out on a great solo during the House is Rockin...and Marshall, well, he's just too amazing for words, especially when he whips that bass over his head, lies on his back and plays, etc. I think the audience was stunned as much as I was. 
             I had spoken to a few people before the show, asking them if they had ever seen the Comets before, and none had. But during the show the folks around me were hooting and clapping and having a great time, commenting on the performance. At the end of the show, Terry Stewart asked "Did I lie?"
             The set list featured Haley favorites Shake/Mambo Rock/Birth of the Boogie/Alligator/Crazy Man/RATC/the Saints...and from the Comets CD's - the House is Rockin/I Want You to Be My Baby/Buena Sera...and probably others I can't recall. Marshall also told t he audience about their upcoming gig at the new Dick Clark theater in Branson.
             At the end of the show, the performers were in the lobby to sign for those who stuck around (by now it was close to 11:30 pm) so I got my program signed and got a chance to see Marshall. He was so kind to me when I introduced myself as a member of our list. I thanked him for his posts and the great photos he sends our way!
             Even now, on a Monday and back at work, the magic of that performance still has me going. What a fantastic time. I made up my mind that I've got to make it to Branson to see the guys next year. I hope I haven't bored anyone with my post, and thanks for reading!
    Jim K

  • To visit the Bill Haley site at Yahoo! Groups, click on
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/billhaley/
  • Portal to Razor Bunnies individual Bill Haley websites:
    http://www.billhaleycentral.com



    BRANSON SHOW SCHEDULE
    Hi Everyone, This is the completed schedule for our opening on March 17th plus the rest of the year. It also shows that Gary Lewis and The Playboys will be playing on the Weeks That The COMETS Are OFF. We hope that EVERYONE OF YOU will come see us and this beautiful DICK CLARK AMERICAN BANDSTAND THEATRE. You can click on the months individually and see the names and Times of the SHOWS. We Love You All - THE COMETS




    Here are the COMETS on Sept 4th in West Springfield MA. What a great gig. This Classic is a 1964.



    Marshall sitting on a concrete Ram in Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden.



    Bassist Marshall Lytle Reports:
    Comets Add Guitarist; Hit Branson in 2006
                "Hi Everyone, We Just Got home from a Fantastic tour. I just received a copy of the local paper The Branson Independent, in Branson, Mo. They have broken the big news, I was saving for a later release, because it is going to be the greatest gig that The COMETS has ever had. Here is another bit of news that needs to get out by an official anouncement by the COMETS.
                We are adding Andrew Norblin (The great guitarist) that plays like Franny Beecher, To the COMETS lineup in BRANSON. This Addition is only the give the Comets a bigger fuller sound. Franny is excited about having Andrew's great guitar work filling in as a new Comet. We are ALL very excited about it. Andrew will also be with us on the wonderful www.oldiescruise2006.com on Jan. 29th thru Feb. 5th, on the Costa Cruise Line. Check it out and get on board, You will have the time of your life.   Check it out and get on board.

     
                We also hope that you all will make your plans to come see us in this great New Theatre in Branson Mo. where there are more theatre seats than in New York City.
                We are leaving on Sept. 12th for 5 more concerts, 3 in Vienna, Austria and 2 in Switzerland and back home on Sept.20th. then we will rest up until Oct. 7th when we are in Montreal Canada at the Big RED HOT and BLUE Rockabilly Festival. Stay tuned for more to come from The COMETS. WE LOVE YOU ALL." -Marshall



    Posted August 3, 2005
    Hi Everyone. This weekend August 6th & 7th The COMETS are working with our good buddy, BOWZER and his Rock and Roll Show at The Mohegen Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Co. Then back home on August 8th so We can see ourselves on the EARLY SHOW on August 9th between 7- 9 AM on CBS TV. It's on a segment that they are calling "Young At Heart". CBS TV has chosen to AIR The COMETS on AUG. 9th at the suggestion of Martin Lewis because it is the 50th anniversary of the First Time THE COMETS were on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW. The CBS film crew worked with us for the TWO DAYS that we were in the LOS ANGELES area on July 5th & 6th. They really got a lot of video footage to chose from. We are excited to see what they have put together. If you can, set you TV dial to CBS TV, THE EARLY SHOW on AUGUST 9th and SEE THE COMETS. It is always subject to Breaking News. The 14th of August another show with BOWZER at Hershey Park, Pa. Then on the 17th THE COMETS are off to Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany for a 10 day tour of work and fun. CATHY is meeting me in Zurich, Switzerland, the morning of Aug. 18th and will be with me for the 10 day tour. Cathy comes back to Tampa and I go to Philadelphia on the 27th. Then The COMETS are at Bubba Maxx in Sommers Point, NJ again on my B-Day (72) on September 1st. My last 4 birthday's have been at the same great spot on the Jersey Coast. Then two more days with BOWZER at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY on Sept. 2-3 then on Sept. 4th The COMETS will be in West Springfield, MA. for 2 Shows at the Big E Grounds. Then on Labor Day (5) we fly home for 1 week before flying back to Vienna, Austria on Sept. 12th for 5 straight Concerts on 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18th. Then home for some rest and relaxation or R&R. We will be having some big news about our new schedule for 2006, I'll save that for the next update. WE LOVE YOU ALL, Marshall



  • Rockwalk Inductees

  • Comets' Photos, July 2005

  • Comets' NASA Photos, July 2005




    June 21, 2005 - Hi Everyone, The COMETS just returned home from another Sold Out Tour of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This is a photo of us waiting to tour a 1000 year old castle in Austria, also a photo of the Castle. (now back to the future) The COMETS, are flying to Washington DC on June 28th to do an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. This is the first of many exciting things that MARTIN LEWIS has setup for us. Check out the program for July 5th & 6th in LA, on www.rockisfifty.com. Also, on July 1st The COMETS are doing a show in LAS Vegas at the NEW  RAMPART CASINO, then we fly to Monteray, Ca. to do a show for the 4th of July Celebration for the City of MONTERAY. Then we fly to Los Angeles, on the morning July 5th to start our BANG UP PROGRAM, There may be a surprise scheduled for The COMETS  in Pasadena, in the City of Angels. If it happens, you will hear about it. WE LOVE YOU ALL. Marshall




    The Comets, 2005: Here WE Go Again, May 25th To Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Be back on June 19th. We Love You All, Marshall





    THE COMETS, and friends Hard at work in beautiful Berlin, 2005.



















    The group The Comets, who played with the famous rock 'n' roll star Bill Haley, entertains the crowd on Sunday evening at RioFest 2005. From left are: John Grande, 75, keyboards; drummer Dick Richards, 81; Marshall Lytle, 71, bass guitar; John Ambrose, 71, saxophone; and Frank Beecher, 83, guitar. The audience went wild when they began to play the old rock 'n' roll tunes. Photo: Joe Hermosa / Valley Morning Star

    The Comets Gets RioFest Dancing
    By ALLEN ESSEX, HARLINGEN, TX, April 2005 - Gray-haired great-grandparents were stomping their feet to real rock 'n' roll Sunday at RioFest as the pioneering music of a former Harlingen resident throbbed out across Fair Park.
             "A Salute to Bill Haley Starring the Original Comets" with some of those original rockers, who are now in their 70s and 80s, pounded out chart-toppers such as "Shake, Rattle and Roll" to a small but wildly enthusiastic audience.
             Memories of '49 Fords with spinner hubcaps, '57 Chevies with glasspack mufflers and juvenile delinquents with ducktail haircuts on Harleys came back to life for many in the audience who had poured nickels in jukeboxes in the 1950s to hear Haley tunes.
             Members of the Retro Rockers, a Harlingen '60s tribute band, were tapping their feet as driving drums and bass backed up wailing saxophone and guitar riffs.
             Harlingen dentist Jimmie Burkholder and bandmates Cliff Muir, Murray Schlesinger, Dale Cramer and Ed Zamorano soaked in inspiration as the rock 'n' roll founders cranked out hit after hit.
             The present incarnation of The Comets include Joe Ambrose on sax, John Grande on piano, Marhsall Lytle on bass, Frank Beecher on guitar and Dick Richards on drums.
             When The Comets launched into "Rock Around the Clock," considered by many the first big hit rock 'n' roll song, many people from the audience jumped up and started dancing, just as if they were in a high school gym in 1956.
             Younger fans, who may have first heard the song at the beginning of the 1973 film "American Graffiti," were also on their feet, recreating the spirit of a '50s sock hop.
             Chuck Hurman of San Benito said he first heard Bill Haley and the Comets on the radio when he was in junior high school in Baltimore.
             The group got bigger and bigger when he was in high school, with hits like "Crazy, Man, Crazy," (1953) Hurman said. "It was Bill Haley's very first song."
             He requested that the Comets play it and they did, he said with a big grin.
             Bill Haley and the Comets were always on the radio "when I was in high school and I went in the Navy when I was 17."
             At the end of the show, Hurman was one of the first in line to get the Comets' autographs.
             Paul Martin Montalvo of Harlingen stomped on the bleachers as the Comets played one hit after another.
             "I grew up with rock 'n' roll," he said. "I remember ÎRock Around the Clock.' They still sound great after all these years."
             Cecilia Robilio of Dallas said she has fond memories of her grandmother, who lived in Memphis, teaching her to dance to the beat of the Bill Haley and the Comets.
             Lee McNamara of Olmito, who organized annual concerts at John Lennon Memorial Park for many years, beamed a big smile as the Comets pumped out the biggest hits of the 1950s.
             Longtime residents remember that Bill Haley spent his final years in Harlingen and that he purchased the Val Verde resort on the west edge of Donna, playing his guitar and singing by the resort's olympic-sized swimming pool.
             Attorney Fred Montalvo Jr. of Harlingen said he was a friend and classmate of Haley's son, Pedro Haley.
             He has always cherished memories of learning that his friend's father really was the big rock 'n' roll star of jukeboxes, radio, TV and movies, Montalvo said. On a visit to his friend's home, he got to meet the star, Montalvo said.
             He recalls attending Bill Haley's funeral in 1981 and noticed Haley was wearing his trademark forehead curl in his casket, he said.






    A great photo of Glenn Ford at the bar in his home in Beverly Hills. Also some very dear friends like Peter and Lynda Ford talking to another friend Bowser. also a picture of THE COMETS girlfriend JANE, Martin's assistant. It was a wonderful 10 day program put together by Martin Lewis and his great organization. It was a pleasure to work with real professional people. We Love You All, Marshall





    Albuquerque Concert / Route 66 Casino
    From Steve Snowden, the photographer at the radio station and casino on Saturday the 12th.
    More Comets Photos from www.route66photography.com




    Above are some photos shot by Pete Rostel. Pete was our opening act on the recent SOLD OUT TOUR that The COMETS did here in Florida. Pete is in the shot with US KIDS. Love to All, Marshall.




    Here is a shot from our recent cruise on the Costa Atlantica,  www.oldiescruise2005.com. This is Marshall and Dick with another headliner legend, Gary Puckett. This shot was on Toga Night and I was the only one that was properly dressed.
             Many Thanks to TAMMY, and HARMON TRAVEL for this nice photo of the entire cast of the Oldies Cruise 2005. The Comets in the front row with Tammy. Second row, left is Bob Harmon (the owner of Harmon Travel) next to him is Wayne Stacey, Gary Lewis, Gary Puckett, Paul Revere, and ALL the RAIDERS and of course the BIG GUY in the back is MC. BIG JACK. and The COMETS are looking forward to www.oldiescruise2006.com with PAUL REVERE and The RAIDERS. Also the great Bill Medley, of the Righteous Brothers, and More TBA, Check out the web site to see the rest of the cruise photos. (that is the first bald head we have autographed). Love to All, Marshall.




    Joe, Dick, & Marshall on shore at Cozemel, Fat Tuesday's great drinks. Lot's of Fun in the SHADE. Our Ladies were at the next table.






    This is Cathy and I on our recent cruise on the www.oldiescruise2005.com. The western Caribbean was just great, The COMETS knocked 'em out again, and they hired us back for the next one in Feb. 2006. Try to be there with us. It was a GREAT CRUISE.




    THE COMETS were featured in the UK magazine "Nursing Older People" September 2004 issue.








    It's Jerry Lee Lewis at The Comets show in Phoenix Oct. 30, 2004.




    THIS IS THE WALL PLAQUETthat will be placed on the wall of the Hotel that is where the Hof Brau Hotel was once stood, located at Oak & Atlantic Ave, in Wildwood By The Sea NJ. It was such a wonderful weekend, October 15-17 2004. with over 5,000 fans coming to celebrate the Fabulous 50's Weekend. It was great to be on the show with Fabin, Danny and the Seniors (Juniors), Charlie Gracie, The Orlons, and the Dovells. Our visit to Coolscoops 50's Ice cream Shop was a real highlight and meeting Paul Russo and his Family was a real pleasure. I am back on my diet big time. Those who missed the event may have a chance next year. The Mayor said that he will see us back again next year. YEH ! Lotsa Love, Marshall



    Marshall & Cathy with THE COMETS: Cruise 2004 Photo Show



    Posted September 4, 2004

    We just had another great tour in Europe. This shot was in Senigallia Italy.  We had a crowd of about 8,000, some are in the photo. Still Rockin Around The Clock, Marshall




    Hi Everyone, This photo was taken at a beautiful Castle in Austria, 12 miles above the Italian border.
             The Comets did a show at another Castle just across this beautiful valley. I took many pictures, I will send just a few, I wish you could see them all. Our host for that Show was Michael and Suzi Pewny from Vienna that also is our opening act and Michael plays great boogie woogie piano with his band.
             Our recent tour stated by flying into Rome Italy, We stopped by to see the Pope but he was busy, what a great tourist city, with all the History and the Roman Empire Ruins is awsome. We spent a few hours seeing as much as we could then we drove across Italy,thru some beautiful mountains to the city of SENIGALLIA on the Adriattic Sea. A nice city to spend a vacation at the beaches. The SUMMER JAMBOREE was a big success we met many wonderful fans from around Europe and the World that are now our friends. The promoter ANGELLO was such a gracious host. He had us over to his beautiful villa on top of a mountain, and his Mother cooked us the best Pasta dinner we ever had. It is hard to be on a diet with friends and food like this. See Ya Later Alligator, Marshall







    Posted June 21, 2004
    This year on August 6th will be the 5th year in a row that The ORIGINAL COMETS have headlined show Jackson, TN. We are doing the Costa Atlantica Cruise again on Jan 30 2005 (http://www.oldiescruise2005.com). Come join us thru Harmon Travel, you won't regret it. We are also DOING IT AGAIN at the Oneida Casino, Greenbay Wi. July 11, 12, 13th and again at their 2nd BIG Rockabilly FESIVAL on April 16, 2005. The Festival starts on April 10th I think Everybody will be there. Doing it Again in the UK, July 2nd at the Stardust Dinner Theatre in Leicester, the 3rd at the Keys Theatre in Peterbourgh, and July 4th, AGAIN at The LOWESTOFT FESTIVAL at PONTINS by The SEA. The COMETS will arrive by HELLICOPTER. Back to the US on July 5th then July 10th in Milwaukee Wi. at VNUKS. The next day after Jackson August 7th and 8th The COMETS are doing a show with Lloyd Price at the Mohegen Sun Casino in Uncasville, Ct. Then BACK TO EUROPE Again on August 16th with shows in Budapest, Senigallia, Italy, Austria, and Germany. Returning back to the US on August 30th in time for our  DOING IT AGAIN 5th Time at Bubba Maxx in Sommers Point NJ. Then we are taking 10 days OFF to recharge our batteries before we DO IT AGAIN Sept 17th for the City of LAS VEGAS. We leave for the UK AGAIN on Sept. 22nd for another DO IT AGAIN SHOW 2nd time at the EDDY COCKRAN FESTIVAL on Sept 24th, the 25th at a Theatre and the 26th Another DO IT AGAIN SHOW (About the 10th time ) at the TENNESSEE CLUB. The 27th we Fly to Genoa Italy for a 7 day cruise thru the MED. We return home on October 3rd. Then another 10 day battery charge. Then on October 16th we are doing The "ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK" FESTIVAL in WILDWOOD NJ. The place were we first performed RATC in public. On October 19th we start a 10 day Tour of the west coast with Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis ending on October 30 in Phoenix AZ. Then another 2 week battery charge then Leave for ANOTHER TOUR OF EUROPE on NOV.14th. I guess we will get home about December 1st. That's enough for this year. It is a tough job, but somebody's gotta DO IT AGAIN
    Love to ALL, Marshall Lytle



    >



    May 19, 2004:
    Yes I am in some Exotic Location, I am at home in Floridaaaaaa. The Comets are enjoying some well deserved time off. Some people call this R&R, I am enjoying my Boat and playing some Golf.
             Our schedule for the rest of the year, goes like this; We start in again the 25th of June in Paradise California. The year is going to be very busy going back to Europe 4 more times, On the 2,3, & 4th of July to the UK, On 16th of August to Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. September, back to the UK for the Eddie Cockran Festival, plus 2 more shows there and then to Genoa, Italy for another 7 day cruise in the Med. then home for 2 weeks then a big show in Wildwood NJ on OCT. 16th to honor RATC. Then a west coast tour with Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis from the 19th thru the 30th of Oct. then start another tour of Europe on Nov. 14th. It is a tuff job, but somebodies gotta do it.
             We also have some other very good shows here in the states, on July 11, 12, & 13th we are at the ONEIDA CASINO in Green Bay Wi. July 15th at the Lincoln Co. Fair near St Louis Mo. August 6th at the Rockabilly Festival in Jackson TN. then on Aug. 7 & 8th we do the Foxwood Casino near Providence, RI. The 2nd of Sept. (the day after my 71st) we will be back again a Bubba Max in Sommers Point, NJ. On Sept 16th & 17 We will be in Las Vegas .
             Now to RATC, I am amazed at the lack of interest from the news media in AMERICA about the TRUE HISTORY of ROCK & ROLL. In the UK the BBC Radio devoted a lot of Radio Time to honor RATC being 50 years old. In Germany they honored RATC on a National TV Program called  50 Years Of Rock.  
             Rolling Stone Magazine is another group that seems to want to write Bill Haley and The Comets out of the history books. I know the power of the press, and they have the power to change things to their way of thinking. I suppose that Memphis TN. and the Elvis promoters have decided that Rock & Roll started in Memphis with Elvis singing Thats Alright Mama. With All that stuff going on, I guess Bill Haley does not have a very big PR department. We Do What We Love and Love What We Do. and we will keep doing it as long as we can.
    See Ya Later Alligator,
    Marshall




    The COMETS Diner in Biel Austria, named in our honor.


    It is a true fifties diner. Pictures and posters everywhere.



    This is Old Heidleburg. One of the most visited beautiful cities in Germany.



    This is the Rhine River in Koblenz, Germany.
    We drove down the Rhine Valley for about 50 miles and saw some of the great Castles of the Rhine
    and Mosel Valley, where some of the great wines are created. One of the most beautiful parts of Germany.




  • WORTH A CLICK:
    Bill Haley's Original Comets: NEWS.
    VJ King Jr and HeartBeat Entertainment bring you regular updates on the activities of the perennial alligators of Rock 'n' Roll, Marshall Lytle



    Rock of Ages
    (A copy of feature/interview which ran in australia on April 19=0,2004 by: Nui Te Koha). 
             The recording of Rock Around the Clock 50 years ago on Monday marked the beginning of rock 'n' roll as we know it. Nui Te Koha finds out how the song was nearly never made, and marked the end of Bill Haley's friendship with his band BILL Haley and the Comets were on their way to New York. It was April 12, 1954, an anxious day of reckoning for Haley, who had signed with the big league -- Decca Records.
             Haley, Billy Williamson (steel guitar), Johnny Grande (piano) Joey Ambrose (sax) and Marshall Lytle (bass), had to travel by ferry to Manhattan for an important three-hour recording session at Pythian Temple.
             "Then we had a mishap on the Delaware River," Lytle, 70, tells Weekend, chuckling. "The ferry got stuck on a sandbar." Haley took the delay in his stride. He knew Milt Gabler, who had signed him to Decca Records, would understand. "So what if we're a little late?" Haley told Lytle. "Don't worry about it. They'll get us off this sandbar and we'll be in the studio before you know it."
             A barge eventually freed the stranded boat. Bill Haley and the Comets got to Pythian Temple an hour late. "There was a lot of tension," Lytle recalls. "This was our first recording session for Decca. And Sammy Davis Jr was scheduled to record after we were through, so we couldn't go over time." Gabler gave them three hours as Davis waited in the wings. They spent 2-1/2hours arranging and recording 13 Women (And Only 1 Man in Town), a song which Gabler pegged as an A-side and a hit.
             "When that song was finished, Milt Gabler said: 'OK, do that rock 'n' roll thing you keep talking about'. "That's the extent of what they knew about rock 'n' roll. Decca didn't know what they had," Lytle laughs. Gabler ran the tape. Bill Haley and the Comets played Rock Around the Clock, a tune written for Haley by Max Freedman and James Myers.
             "I thank God we rehearsed the song in Bill's basement in Pennsylvania before we did the recording session," Lytle says. GUITARIST Danny Cedrone and drummer Billy Gussak joined the Comets for the April 12 session. Both were session musicians who had played with Haley on earlier recordings. That fact helped Lytle devise Cedrone's guitar solo on Rock Around the Clock. Gussak played around Lytle's signature "doomba-doomba-doomba" slap-bass on Haley's 1953 song, Crazy Man Crazy.
             "I suppose Billy and I created our sound with that song. Bill Haley also thought Billy Gussak was a lucky charm," Lytle says. "I was allowed to play how I normally played and Billy would fill in the gaps with a shuffle beat. That sound gelled immediately. It was the sound we took to Rock Around the Clock. It was the signature rhythm that everybody liked dancing to."
             To Cedrone, Rock Around the Clock was alien. He had never heard it. He had not rehearsed it with the Comets and had no guitar solo in mind. Lytle then recalled Cedrone's guitar solo on a 1952 Comets track, Rock This Joint. He suggested Cedrone transplant it to Rock Around the Clock. "It fit perfectly," Lytle says, "and it became one of the greatest guitar solos ever."
             Haley paid Cedrone $21 for the session. Months later, Cedrone died after a fall. Bill Haley and the Comets spent 35 minutes recording two takes of Rock Around the Clock. "I thought it was a good song, but it was not something we had great enthusiasm about," Lytle says. "We always had hopes for a hit record, but we never realised Rock Around the Clock would be world famous. You couldn't sense it." The song was released in May, 1954, as a B-side to 13 Women.
             THE label described Rock Around The Clock as a "foxtrot". It sold 150,000 copies and sank. A year later, Rock Around the Clock got new life when film director Richard Brooks used it in Blackboard Jungle. Brooks heard the track at the home of actor Glenn Ford. Ford's son, Peter, was blasting the song in his bedroom. Blackboard Jungle hit screens in March, 1955. On July 5, Rock Around the Clock became the No. 1 song in the US. It stayed at the top for eight weeks.
             Lytle realised the song's impact in one of Haley's many luxury cars. "Bill had bought a new Cadillac with a selectric radio dial where you push a button and it changes stations automatically," Lytle says. "It was 10 in the morning and I heard Rock Around the Clock. I pushed a button and it was playing at the same time on another station, and then another, and another. I pushed that button five times and it was playing on every station at the same time across the dial. I only knew then it was an absolute smash."
             But Haley's success, and money, changed everything. Lytle had known Haley since 1951. "Bill was my hero," Lytle says. "He was seven years older than me, a very talented man, a great singer and musician." In one afternoon session, Haley taught Lytle to play bass. "It took 30 minutes!" Lytle says. "I learned the basic three-chord, three-note runs on a bass and then how to slap the bass." That night Lytle performed on stage with Haley.
             "We were working our butts off, making a living to support our families," Lytle says. "We were hoping that, maybe, we could get a hit record and make some money from it." But the money trail stopped at Haley. Lytle was paid $47.50 for his contribution to Rock Around the Clock. "It was a union scale pay cheque," Lytle says, glumly. "That was what I earned for my part on one of the world's most famous recordings."
             Haley's career peaked in 1955. His other hits included Shake Rattle and Roll and See Ya Later Alligator. Lytle says Haley was earning $300,000 a week, yet Haley kept the Comets on a $200 weekly wage. Lytle, Ambrose and drummer Dick Richards quit the Comets after Haley refused a $50 pay rise. "Bill really changed after he had success. He became big-headed. He started believing his own press and excluded me from a friendship. Hell, he used to come to my home, my mother would make breakfast for him -- he would eat dinner with us. Then it got to be not so friendly."
             Lytle agrees, to a point, with academics citing Rock Around the Clock as the song that gave birth to rock 'n' roll. It deserves that honour, Lytle says, because it was the first universally recognised rock 'n' roll song. "Rock Around the Clock broke down barriers, especially the colour barrier, that prevented mainstream America from enjoying rock and roll," says Alex Fraser-Harrison, a writer for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Nashville.
             "What upsets me is how revisionists have tried to downplay the song's importance in recent years." He disagrees with theories that Elvis Presley's July 1954 hit, That's All Right Mama, started rock 'n' roll. "Part of the problem is Elvis has a much better public relations machine behind him," Fraser-Harrison says. "For me, Rock Around the Clock was the single most important recording of the second half of the 20th century. Literally nothing sounded the same after it."
             LYTLE: "I feel rock 'n' roll was born before Rock Around the Clock. But they were merely stepping stones to what Rock Around the Clock achieved." Rock This Joint, the 1952 Bill Haley and the Comets track, saw influential DJ Allen Freed coin the phrase "rock and roll". Lytle was sitting in on Freed's radio program in Cleveland, Ohio, the moment the term was invented. "He played Rock This Joint, and while the record was playing, he left the microphone on and yelled: 'Rock and roll, everybody, rock and roll!' "To me, that was the night rock 'n' roll was born, because I was there, I heard it and experienced it."
             Bill Haley had little success after 1955. He replaced the Lytle-Ambrose rhythm section, but couldn't nail their signature sound. "This is what really happened to Bill: Elvis Presley came and took his thunder. I don't think Bill ever got over it because he kept trying and trying and trying."
             Bill Haley died of a heart attack, aged 55, in 1981. His estate receives all royalties for Rock Around the Clock. To date, it has sold millions of copies, featured in 36 movies and been recorded by 500 artists in 36 languages. Lytle is finally collecting on the track, too.
             Five years ago, after a call to do a television special, Lytle, Ambrose, 69, Grande, 73, and guitarist Franny Beecher, 82, reformed the Original Comets. This week they started the second leg of a sellout European tour.





    Wall Street Journal Article (April 4, 2004)





    Hi Everyone, We just got home from a 19 show 21 day SOLD OUT tour of Europe. This is a photo of The Comets and Suzie Quatro in Budapest. She did the interview with us for BBC Radio with Paul. She came to our show and we got her up with us on our finale. She is good with a great personality. She is 54 and looks 24. We go back to Europe on April 14th to do the FIFTY YEARS OF ROCK TV SHOW to be aired all over Europe on April 17th. Plus we have a few more concerts to do, it will only be for 12 days this tour. On April 9th there will be a nice article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL about The Comets and RATC. See Ya Later Aligator. Marshall




    After The Buckinghams, wonderful show on the Oldies Cruise 2004, The COMETS pay their respect backstage.


    In this photo of Franny, he is not throwing up, he is singing the notes that he's playing.




    The Comets are enjoying the roar of the crowd on the Oldies Cruise 2004. Thank you very much.



    An Exciting Idea (and Message)

             [Feb., 2004] - My husband and I recently went on a cruise in the eastern Caribbean with 600 other people to listen to oldies music through Harmon Travel in Boise, Idaho. The featured entertainers were Paul Revere and the Raiders, Tommy Roe, Peggy March, The Buckinghams, and the original Comets (Bill Haley passed away 23 years ago.). We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Comets are one of the biggest names in pop history. The first United States hit for them was Rock the Joint, three years before Rock Around the Clock was recorded.  Rock Around the Clock is the largest selling record of all time! They were the first United States’ group to sell a million copies in the UK, and the first Rock and Roll band to visit the UK.
             Bill Haley died in 1981, but the original members of his band, the Comets, reformed in the '80s and still perform to sell out audiences all over the world, including the UK where they visit every 12 to 18 months. These are the original members and the same musicians that took part in all the big hits of the golden days of rock and roll.
    The point of our message is that wouldn’t it be great for the Spokane Symphony to invite the original Comets to a performance and do a Rock and Roll event. It would be a sellout! If you like this idea, we would be happy to help in anyway that we could. For further information as to booking the Comets, you can e-mail the Marshall Lytle at marshall-tommy@suddenlink.net. The Comets are a treasure in the field of music. They performed for 3 hours one night on the cruise ship, back-to-back performances with only a 20-minute break! The drummer turned 80 on our cruise. The sax player said he is going to “blow till he goes.” The bass player, Marshall Lytle, did all kinds of moves while playing the instrument. It was an unbelievable show! We felt we were seeing a part of history! The Comets have been invited back next year by Harmon Travel to a cruise in January 2005. Harmon Travel is expecting a minimum of 1,000 people to attend this cruise.


    FATHERS OF ROCK
             Despite their disappointment in Haley, it is tempered by their place in history and a belief that they fathered what became known as rock'n'roll.
             We get a little irritated when people lay claim to being the creators of rock'n'roll," says Lytle, recounting a Little Richard interview on "The Today Show" in which he said there wasn't rock'n'roll before he started in 1956. Lytle disputes the claim, offering as proof the Comets' "Rock the Joint," which became a hit in the band's native Philadelphia in 1952, and 1953's "Crazy, Man, Crazy," which Lytle says was the first rock song on the Billboard charts.
             "I was there when (disc jockey) Alan Freed coined the phrase 'rock'n'roll,'" he says. It was 1952 and the Comets were in Cleveland to promote "Rock the Joint" on Freed's show. The seminal verse went:          We're gonna tear down the mailbox, rip up the floors / Smash out the windows and knock down the doors / We're gonna rock, rock this joint / We're gonna rock, rock this joint / We're gonna rock, rock this joint / We're gonna rock this joint tonight.
             Lytle says Freed, who had left the studio make open during the song, began pounding on the table and screaming "rock'n'roll, rock'n'roll" for all his radio listeners to hear. After it ended, he adds, "the people kept calling up and saying, 'Will you play that rock'n'roll song again?' He played it 12 times. That's the night rock'n'roll was invented."


    HITS AROUND THE CLOCK
             Lytle says a high school student was the inspiration behind "Crazy, Man, Crazy." "We were promoting 'Rock the Joint' at a high school assembly near Philadelphia. On our way out, we asked one of the kids how he liked our music and he said, 'Crazy, man, crazy,'" Lytle remembers. "Bill and I went to his apartment while his wife was fixing lunch and we wrote 'Crazy, Man, Crazy.'"
             After that, one hit followed another: "Shake, Rattle & Roll," No. 1 in America in 1954; "Rock Around the Clock," No. 1 in the world in 1955; and "See You Later Alligator" - recorded after Lytle, D'Ambrosio and Richards had departed - No. 1 in American in 1956. Lytle says "Rock Around the Clock" became a hit a year after it was recorded. "It kind of laid there until (the 1955 movie) 'Blackboard Jungle' came out," he says. "The producer was looking for a song for the beginning of the film, and his daughter was playing it in her bedroom. He heard her playing that and said, 'Who is that?' She said, 'Don't you know? That's Bill Haley and the Comets.'"
             It was the first use of rock music in a mainstream feature film and "started the song on its way to worldwide recognition," says Lytle, who joined Haley in 1951, when he was still playing country music. Lytle got to know Haley through guitarist Tex king, a friend of the family and member of Haley's Four Aces of Western Swing. King's guitar playing also influenced Lytle. "He used to room at our house and would practice around the house," he says. "I'd listen to him, get the family guitar out and try to play what I'd heard. Bill became friends of our family" through King.
             When Haley needed a bass player, he offered Lytle the job. "Bill, I don't know how to play the bass," he told Haley. "I'll teach you," Haley told Lytle. And he did. "He taught me the fundamentals in 30 minutes," Lytle says

             Alanna and Jim Crouch
            Spokane, WA 99208

    MARSHALL'S RESPONSE: "Hi Alanna, Thanks for this wonderful letter. All THE COMETS loved every minute of the Oldies Cruise and we look forward the next one on Jan. 30th 2005. It really would be great to do a show with the Spokane Symphony. 'We're Loving What We Do, and Doing What We Love.' RATC." -Marshall





    The COMETS, really rocked the audience on Feb.9, 2004 on the OLDIES CRUISE 2004.




    The COMETS 2nd show on Feb. 9th on the Costa Atlantica, Oldies Cruise 2004. The HOUSE WAS ROCKIN, (and so was the cruise ship) RATC.




    This is DICK RICHARDS And his Lady Shirley, on The COSTA ATLANTICA CRUISE, celebrating DICK'S 80th Birthday on FEB.12th 2004. The entire ship sang Happy Birthday to him. It was a Day To Remember.





    This is Marshall and Cathy enjoying a day at the beautiful beach at Catalina Island in the Bahama Islands. The Beautiful Cruise Liner COSTA ATLANTICA is anchored in the background. The COMETS performed TWO shows on Monday Night to capacity crowds. We set the standards very HIGH for the Acts that followed us, the rest of the week. The COMETS were the talk of the ship ... So much so that they hired us for their next OLDIES CRUISE 2005 starting Jan. 30th. Also on board as passengers to be with the Comets for some fun in the sun, was our Good Rockin Buddy MATT LUCAS and his lovely wife Barb. Matt had some hit records back in the 50's and 60's, one very big one called "I'm Moving On". Harmon Travel in Boise Idaho, does a fantastic job putting together this fabulous package of FUN & ENTERTAINMENT for about 1000 special people.





    BILL HALEY'S ORIGINAL COMETS celebrated their 50th anniversary with 'Rock Around the Clock' with a show Jan. 16 at Bimbo's in San Francisco. The youngest member is sax player Joey D'Ambrosio, 69, a retired Las Vegas pit boss.


    Comets Remain Shooting Stars
             Feb., 2004 - By RICHARD FREEDMAN, Times-Herald staff writer - Who could blame the original members of Bill Haley's Comets if they spent the encore years of life sitting around a cozy fire exchanging memories of their glorious past when "Rock Around the Clock" shook, rattled, and rolled the nation.
             After all, the ages of the surviving five musicians reads like impressive golf scores: Joey D'Ambrosio, 69, Marshall Lytle, 70, Johnny Grande, 73, Dick Richards, 80, and Franny Beecher, 82.
             But this Fab Five is hardly resting - on their laurels or their collective rear ends. Bill Haley's Original Comets (which they are legally tagged) continue to play not just across the United States, but across the world.
             That's the awesome staying power of "Rock Around the Clock," which gripped the No. 1 slot in America for six months as top song in America in 1955. It's a rock anthem that's sold more than 200 million copies, been heard in 36 motion pictures, and recorded by 500 artists in 32 languages, according to http://www.rockabillyhall.com
             And it's a song - along with other Comet tunes such as "See You Later, Alligator" and "Burn That Candle" - that takes the elderly icons everywhere from Greece to Mozambique to Brazil and Germany.
             "It is amazing," said D'Ambrosio, the Comets' sax man since 1953. "This is something I did when I was 19. That was 50 years ago. And I'm doing this stuff all over again with the same guys. And I still practice almost every day."
             D'Ambrosio, a retired Las Vegas casino supervisor, picks and chooses The Original Comets' U.S. gigs. The group plays roughly 65 shows a year, including Jan. 16 at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco.
             "I never feel tired," D'Ambrosio said. "And I think we play as good as we ever have. The guys are up there (in age), but there's so much energy that goes on. People can't believe it."
             None of the Comets believed it when "Rock Around the Clock" catapulted a relatively unknown and former country band into the stratosphere. Fact is, the song was the "B" side to "13 Women" when Haley & Co. went into the studio May 14, 1955.
             "We had three hours for the recording session and spent 30 minutes on 'Rock Around the Clock,'" D'Ambrosio said.
             The Comets rehearsed "Rock Around the Clock" in Haley's basement. So much for predicting fame.
             "It was such a new thing in those days," D'Ambrosio said. "When we recorded it, people were listening to Patti Page singing 'How Much is That Doggie in the Window?'"
             Kick-started by legendary DJ Allen Freed, "Rock Around the Clock" would reach national coverage from the movie TV appearances and a hit movie, "Blackboard Jungle." Adding D'Ambrosio a year earlier didn't hurt.
             "When I joined them, they had never had a saxophone player," He said. "They were a cowboy band. They hired a drummer - Dick Richards - and myself. It changed the sound of the band."
             Soon, teens across the country were dancing to "Rock Around the Clock." Haley and the Comets soon appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Then Milton Berle's Texaco Theater.
             "Then Blackboard Jungle came out and it became a major hit all over the world," D'Ambrosio said. "Everywhere, it was big time. It was unbelievable."
             While the band was hitting a financial gold mine earning around $50,000 a week, Haley pocketed most of it, D'Ambrosio said. As Haley purchased luxury automobiles from the cash windfall, he rejected the pleas of Lytle, D'Ambrosio and Richards for a $50 a week raise over their $200 a week salary.
             Haley died of a heart attack at age 55 in 1981, and his estate receives all "Rock" royalties. Basically, all the Comets received out of the song was $47.50 each for the recording session.
             "We got the shaft," Lytle said later.
             "He did what he did and we did what we did," D'Ambrosio said. "He was the leader of the band. He was a shy guy, but he was the boss and he let you know it."
             Still, the Comets did all the musical arranging, leaving Haley as the lead vocalist.
             "We had to come up with the arrangements, how we were going to play it," D'Ambrosio said. "So he didn't contribute that much, really. He did pick the material."
             The Comets went on to start a new band, the Jodimars.
             "We did real well, but never had a hit," D'Ambrosio said.
             Then came a guy named Elvis Presley.
             "And everybody forgot about everyone else but Elvis," D'Ambrosio said.
             The Jodimars disbanded and the players went their separate ways.
             "Things got quiet musically. Gigs were hard to get," D'Ambrosio said. "And in 1972, I already had three kids."
             Through some connections, D'Ambrosio secured a job at Caesars Palace in Vegas.
             "I had to do something," he said.
             D'Ambrosio advanced from a card dealer to management after seven years and stayed at Caesars until his retirement in 1999.
             Then D'Ambrosio got a call from the producer of a Dick Clark TV special. They wanted the Original Comets back for a performance honoring top musicians who hailed from Philadelphia.
             "We hadn't seen each other in 30 years. Everybody was doing their own thing," D'Ambrosio said.
             When the reunited group arrived in Philly, "We walked right past each other," D'Ambrosio recalled. "Guys change. We didn't recognize each other."
             It was just like the good old days for the Original Comets when they belted out "Rock Around the Clock."
             "People were dancing in the aisles," D'Ambrosio said. "And we had thought people would forget about us. But we were remembered by a lot of people."
             Word spread that the real Comets - not any of the mock Comets doing the circuit - were together again. And the bookings flowed.
             "We started getting bigger and bigger," D'Ambrosio said. "And got more gigs than we could handle."
             And, health willing, they'll keep it going indefinitely.
             "I'm 69 and in good shape," D'Ambrosio said. "I'm going to blow 'til I go."




  • COMET PHOTOS. Lotsa Chet Helms pix from Bimbos.



    ANIMATIONS COURTESY DENISE GREGOIRE ...
       
    First graphic: Denise Gregoire & Franny Beecher, Bill Haley's original guitar player.




    Click to view larger image of the boys performing New Years Eve



    Two of the Oldest Touring Rock & Roll musicians in the world, Flight to Green Bay. December 30th 2003.


    Welcome to 2004! Ric Timmers poses with Franny at The Comets' New Years Eve gig in Green Bay, Wisconsin.



    Click for More "Crazy Lyle Page"



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