Sonny Dae and His Knights
Sonny Dae and His Knights was an American vocal and instrumental group in the early 1950s. The group was the first to record the hit song "Rock Around the Clock".
The group comprised Italian-American singer Sonny Dae (real name Paschall Salvatore Vennitti, May 24, 1928–February 1987), pianist Hal Hogan, guitarist Art Buono, and Mark Bennett. It was a novelty group that billed itself as "instrumental, vocal and fun makers", and had a regular slot on the Old Dominion Barn Dance radio show in Richmond, Virginia.
"Rock Around the Clock" was apparently co-authored by James E. Myers (using the pseudonym Jimmy DeKnight), and was performed in stage shows in 1953 by his client Bill Haley. However, Haley's record company, Essex Records, initially refused to allow him to record it, because the company owner, Dave Miller, detested Myers and refused to allow his songs to be released on the label. Instead, Myers' business partner Jack Howard offered the song to Sonny Dae and His Knights, who released it in Philadelphia on 20 March 1954 (recorded, according to some other sources, late in 1953). "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock To-night!" was copyrighted on 31 March 1953 in the U.S.Library Of Congress.
The recording was released on Howard's Arcade label, and reviewed by Billboard in the R&B section. But the record achieved only modest local success. The B-side was an instrumental with accompanying vocals, "Moving Guitar", written by S. Dae, A. Buono and M. Bennett. Haley then recorded his version of 'Rock Around the Clock' on 12 April 1954, following which it eventually became a massive worldwide hit.
Sonny Dae & His Knights is not known to have made any other recordings.