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Bill Haley’s Comets perform tonight at Ro-Na Theater

The legendary Bill Haley’s Comets can best be described as a true phenomenon. The band that taught us all how to “Rock Around the Clock” and “Shake Rattle and Roll” will headline the historic Ro-Na Theater in downtown Ironton tonight.

Bill Haley’s Comets burst onto the music scene in the early 1950s and were one of the earliest groups of white musicians to bring rock and roll to the attention of white America and the rest of the world. With Haley’s signature split curl haircut and the band’s matching plaid dinner jackets and energetic stage presence, many fans consider them to be as revolutionary in the 1950s as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were in the 1960s.

In 1955, Bill Haley’s Comets’ “Rock Around The Clock” was featured in the smash teen movie “Blackboard Jungle,” catapulting the song to No. 1. The Comets themselves starred in two of the first-ever movies about the rock music revolution titled “Rock Around The Clock” and “Don’t Knock the Rock.” In the 1950s and 1960s, The Comets toured the world, performed for Queen Elizabeth II and were featured regularly on “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.”

Bill Haley’s Comets continued cranking out hit after hit for their fans including “See Ya Later, Alligator,” “Rip It Up,” “Rock the Joint,” and “Crazy Man Crazy.” The Comets received career resurgence in the 1970s when their music was prominently featured in the movie “American Graffiti” and the popular TV show “Happy Days.”

In the 21st Century, Bill Haley’s Comets’ live performances feature the same high-energy and raucous rockabilly sound for which the band has always been famous. The current Comets are led by lead vocalist Lenny Longo. According to Longo, their mission is to “keep the Comets music and tradition alive with an enthusiasm that would have made Bill very proud of his current Comets.” Haley died in 1981.

Bill Haley’s Comets continue to perform more than 100 shows a year at theaters, fairs and casinos all over the world for fans of all ages. The response to their energetic live performances and hit-packed live show is always fantastic, with standing ovations and screams for encore after encore.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door, online at www.ro-natheater.com and at Pack Horse LLC in downtown Ironton.