Franny Beecher, the lead guitarist for Bill Haley and His Comets, died yesterday at the age of 92.
Although session guitarist Danny Cedrone played on the original recording of the group’s biggest hit, “Rock Around the Clock,” Beecher took over as lead guitarist in 1955 after Cedrone’s death. “Rock Around the Clock” went on to sell more than 25 million copies, with Beecher playing on the song’s national television debut and for films like Blackboard Jungle.
Though the Comets broke up in 1962, Beecher and several former members reunited for a tour in the 1980s. Although Bill Haley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the Comets weren’t inducted until 2012.
Beecher was born in Norristown, PA in 1921, and performed on stage from age 17 until age 90. He first perfomed as lead guitarist in Benny Goodman’s orchestra in 1948, then worked as a session musician before joining up with Bill Haley. He is survived by two sons and six grandchildren.
Below is a video showcasing Beecher’s chops with Bill Haley and His Comets on “Goofin’ Around”: