Billy Gussak

William "Billy" Gussak (c. 1920 – 1994) was an American jazz and recording session drummer, best known for being the drummer on the classic 12 April 1954 recording of "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets. Some sources incorrectly spell his name as Guesak.

Gussak was a well-respected session drummer, who had been used by Haley on some of his 1953 recordings, including "Real Rock Drive" and "Crazy Man, Crazy" in preference to the Comets' usual live drummer Dick Boccelli (also known as Dick Richards). According to one source , it was record producer Milt Gabler who insisted on using Gussak. "Gabler, who wanted to stress the big beat sound that he could get from [recording studio] Pythian Temple's acoustics, brought in his own session drummer ... Beginning with his three rim shots at the start of the record, Gussak would drop echoed snare bombs throughout, giving a dynamic to "Rock Around The Clock" that Haley's material had never had before."

Gussak continued as a studio drummer after "Rock Around The Clock" became successful, recording occasionally with Haley through 1954/55 and then recording with The Jodimars, the members of the Comets who had split away from Haley. Gussak later moved to California, where he recorded with Perry Como among others, before retiring due to arthritis. In the early 1960s he collaborated on some songs with eccentric musician Stephen "Brute Force" Friedland, at the time the boyfriend of his daughter.

Gussak is also credited with a number of patents in relation to drum design. He died in 1994.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1920, Died 1994

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1936 - 1955

Roles Represented in DAHR: traps, drums

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 61 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-037652 10-in. 6/16/1939 Guess I'll go back home (This summer) Three Reasons ; Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with female vocal trio and jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-038235 10-in. 7/7/1939 Time on my hands Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-038236 10-in. 7/7/1939 Manhattan Disck Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-038237 10-in. 7/7/1939 Drifting down the river of dreams Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-038238 10-in. 7/7/1939 Old mill wheel Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-041579 10-in. 8/17/1939 Blue orchids Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-041580 10-in. 8/17/1939 One morning in May Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-041581 10-in. 8/17/1939 Lazy river Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-041582 10-in. 8/17/1939 Its a hundred to one (I'm in love) Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042638 10-in. 9/5/1939 (Everybody's happy for) Myrtle Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042639 10-in. 9/5/1939 It's funny to everyone but me Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042640 10-in. 9/5/1939 The beautiful buxom barmaid Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042641 10-in. 9/5/1939 The starlit hour Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042776 10-in. 10/3/1939 Who told you I cared Dinah Shore Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042777 10-in. 10/3/1939 I like to recognize the tune Dinah Shore Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042778 10-in. 10/3/1939 I thought about you Dinah Shore Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042779 10-in. 10/3/1939 (Why couldn't it last) Last night Dinah Shore Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042944 10-in. 10/12/1939 Ciri-biri-bin Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042945 10-in. 10/12/1939 Vol vistu gaily star Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042946 10-in. 10/12/1939 Goody goodbye Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-042947 10-in. 10/12/1939 No mama no Smoothies Mixed vocal trio, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-043307 10-in. 10/24/1939 It's the talk of the town Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-043308 10-in. 10/24/1939 I can't get started Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-043309 10-in. 10/24/1939 It's a hap-hap-happy day Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-043310 10-in. 10/24/1939 The creaking old mill on the creek Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
(Results 1-25 of 61 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Gussak, Billy," accessed May 21, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114901.

Gussak, Billy. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 21, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114901.

"Gussak, Billy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 21 May 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114901

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