He was born in Detroit, Michigan and was raised in Pennsylvania. After making a number of unsuccessful country music singles in the 1940s, whilst working as a touring musician and later a DJ. In 1951 he and his band, The Saddlemen, changed styles, recording cover versions of Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" and "Rock this Joint". The relative success of the latter of these convinced Haley that he could be a successful rock and roller. In 1952 The Saddlemen became Bill Haley and the Comets, who were important in launching the music to a wider (white) audience.