1955 May 17

Rock Around the Quad! 1,000 Princeton Students “Riot” Over “Rock Around the Clock”


Princeton University students played the Bill Haley hit record Rock Around the Clock simultaneously from their dorm rooms. News reports indicated that it really wasn’t a “riot,” but university administrators were apparently not happy, since four students were later suspended “indefinitely.” The film that opens with the song, Blackboard Jungle, was banned in several cities because of its alleged immoral influence on juveniles (and, apparently, Princeton University students). It was banned in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 28, 1955, and withdrawn as the U.S. entry in the Ve nice Film Festival on August 28, 1955.

The advent of rock and roll alarmed moralists and public officials around the country, particularly in 1954-55, and led to numerous censorship efforts. See, for example, the cancellation of a Fats Domino concert in Bridgeport, CT on May 22, 1955. (See the chronology in the Appendix in Parental Advisory, cited below.)

See and hear Bill Haley and the Comets Rock Around the Clockhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgdufzXvjqw

Learn more: Eric Nuzum, Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America (2001)

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