On April 12, 1861, the bloodiest four years in American history began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.” Find the information on the Civil War at the library, on hoopla, in OverDrive (Avalon Media Download Center and South Jersey Audiobook and eBook Download Center). For songs of the Civil War, go to Freegal.

Bill Haley & His Comets

On April 12, 1954, Bill Haley and the Comets record “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock.”  The single sold a respectable but underwhelming 75,000 copies in the coming months, and was destined to be forgotten until a 10-year-old kid in Los Angeles fell in love with the song. That kid, Peter Ford, happened to be the son of actor Glenn Ford, who was slated to star in the upcoming teenage-delinquency drama Blackboard Jungle. Peter turned his father on to “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock,” and soon enough, the song was chosen to play over the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle, which is how it became a pop sensation, selling a million copies in a single month in the spring of 1955. Rock around the clock on hoopla and Freegal.

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