'Rock Around The Clock' Co-Writer James Myers Dead At 81

Song becomes Bill Haley hit following appearance in movie 'The Blackboard Jungle.'

James Myers, who co-wrote the classic "Rock Around the Clock," died of leukemia Wednesday at age 81.

Myers, under the name Jimmy DeKnight, co-wrote Bill Haley and His Comets' 1954 hit "Rock Around the Clock" with Max Freedman. The song didn't make much of a dent either upon its release or in a prior version by Sonny Dae. It became an anthem for the emerging youth culture, though, when Haley and his group performed it in the juvenile-delinquent movie "The Blackboard Jungle."

"Rock Around the Clock," which mixed R&B elements with pop and rockabilly, was hailed for breaking down racial barriers and credited with helping to popularize rock and roll. The song has been recorded by dozens of artists, including the Isley Brothers, Chubby Checker and Pat Boone.

Although Myers wrote hundreds of other songs, including several more for Haley, none became hits.

A Philadelphia native, Myers will be buried there Wednesday, according to James Myers Enterprises.