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JAMES E. MYERS

Myers is best known as the credited co-writer of "Rock Around the Clock" for which he used the pseudonym "Jimmy DeKnight". In later years, Myers turned to acting, appearing in small roles in a number of films such as The China Syndrome; he also directed at least two films under his Jimmy DeKnight nom de plume. He also wrote an autobiography based upon his experiences in World War II.

Career

  • After his four-year stint in combat, Myers never picked the drums back up, but continued writing songs; became a producer, promoter, and booking agent; and started both Cowboy Records and (for music publishing) Myers Music Inc. It was as a booking agent and promoter that Myers became connected to Bill Haley. Although Myers was working with Haley for some time, Myers' classic "Rock Around the Clock" wasn't recorded by Haley due to contractual issues, until after Sonny Dae & His Nights recorded a version that settled on the local Philadelphia chart in 1952. Haley, disappointed with Essex, his label at the time, asked Myers to help him get signed to a major, and Myers set up a lucrative deal with Decca. In appreciation, Haley agreed to devote a side of each 45 to a Myers song.

    When it came time to record, Decca devoted two and a half hours of a three-hour session to the A-side of Haley's first single, "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man in Town)," then handed the remaining half hour of the session over to Myers to produce a B-side. Haley and band wrapped up "Rock Around the Clock" in two takes with Myers producing, but the song's immense success took some time to come around. The "Thirteen Women" single was released to moderate sales in 1954, but Myers' grassroots promotion heightened attention on the B-side. Myers ordered a couple of boxes of the single from Decca and drove around Philadelphia and New York dropping it off at any radio station he could find, asking that the stations check out the B-side, "Rock Around the Clock." Station by station, the single was picked up and began to become a minor hit. Shortly thereafter, the film The Blackbird Jungle took the song as its theme and "Rock Around the Clock" finally broke in 1955, staying at the number one slot for eight weeks.

    Shortly after the success of "Rock Around the Clock," Myers retired from the music business under doctor's orders due to the stress of having his hands in so many parts of the industry. He traveled the world for a while, wrote Hell Is a Foxhole, a book chronicling his war days, and ended up in Hollywood. Naturally, he became enamored with the film industry and worked on both sides of the camera, picking up small jobs wherever he was needed. He ended up staying for two decades. As an actor, Myers landed bit parts in four of the Rocky films, The China Syndrome, King Kong, and episodes of Laverne & Shirley, The Waltons, CHiPs, Sanford & Son, the Dukes of Hazzard, and others in two takes with Myers producing, but the song's immense success took some time to come around. The After his four-year stint in combat, Myers never picked the drums back up, but continued writing songs; became a producer, promoter, and booking agent; and started both Cowboy Records and (for music publishing) Myers Music Inc. It was as a booking agent and promoter that Myers became connected to Bill Haley. Although Myers was working with Haley for some time, Myers' classic

Membership

  • American Society of Composers

  • Screen Actors Guild

  • American Federation of television and Radio Artists

  • American Guild Authors and Composers

  • National Music Publishers' Association

  • others

Personality

Interests

Music & Bands: James E. Myers is forever cemented in rock history -- his influence on the music industry is undeniably massive as the co-author of "Rock Around the Clock," the song cited by John Lennon, Elton John, and many others as being the single most inspiring song for a generation.

Connections

  • Co-worker: Bill Haley
  • producer: Dave Miller
    he was a record producer and the founder of many budget album record companies.
JAMES E. MYERS
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Died May 9, 2001
(aged 81)
Nationality
  • November 30, 1999 - November 30, 1999
    Owner James E. Myers Enterprises
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Award

Contributor  

Irina Potrebko last changed 16/11/2011 view changes
Alis Tiumenewa last changed 01/05/2012 view changes
  • Friends & colleagues
    • Dave Miller
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