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 51-61 of 61 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Decca||61426||10-in.||11/23/1936||Tea on the terrace||Will Osborne and his Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||61427||10-in.||11/23/1936||That foolish feeling||Will Osborne and his Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||61428||10-in.||11/23/1936||Where are you?||Will Osborne and his Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||86163||4/12/1954||(We're gonna) Rock around the clock||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||86164||4/12/1954||Thirteen women (and only one man in town)||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||86809||9/21/1954||Happy baby||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||86810||9/21/1954||Dim, dim the lights (I want some atmosphere)-1||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||87325||1/5/1955||Birth of the boogie-1||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||87326||1/5/1955||Mambo rock||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||87921||5/10/1955||Two hound dogs||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||87922||5/10/1955||Razzle dazzle||Comets ; Bill Haley||instrumentalist, drums|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Gussak, Billy," accessed February 2, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114901.
Gussak, Billy. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114901.
"Gussak, Billy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 2 February 2023.
DAHR Persistent Identifier
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