The last days of the late, great Bill (Rock Around the Clock) Haley
Billy Haley's end was so very sad:
"In the last desperate months of his life, he would come into the restaurant at all hours of the day and take a seat, sometimes at the counter and other times in one of the back booths. He was always alone. He wore a scruffy ball cap, and behind his large, square glasses there was something odd about his eyes. They didn’t always move together. Barbara Billnitzer, one of the waitresses, would bring him a menu and ask how he was doing. “Just fine,” he’d say, and they would chat about the traffic and the weather, which was always warm in South Texas, even in January. He’d order coffee—black—and sometimes a sandwich, maybe turkey with mayo. Then he’d light up a Pall Mall and look out the window or stare off into space. Soon he was lost in thought, looking like any other 55-year-old man passing the time in a Sambo’s on Tyler Street in downtown Harlingen. He had moved there with his family five years before, in 1976. It was a perfect place for a guy who wanted to get away from it all. And he had a lot to get away from. Twenty-five years before, just about everyone in the Western world had known his face. In fact, for a period of time in the mid-fifties, he had been the most popular entertainer on the planet. He had sold tens of millions of records. He had caused riots. He had headlined shows with a young opening act named Elvis Presley and had inspired John Lennon to pick up the guitar. He had changed the world."
----- Journalist Michael Hall describes Bill Haley (who sang "Rock Around the Clock" and other early rock and roll hits) in a fine Texas Monthly article about the last few years of the R&R legend in South Texas. The article is a powerful, though painful, read. The rest of it is here, and you should read it:
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.