In Memoriam: Al Rex

Al Rex with The Comets

We lost one of the original bassists of rock and roll this week with the passing of Al Rex. He was 91 years old.

Rex, aka Albert Piccirilli, was born in Black Horse, Pennsylvania in 1928. He joined Bill Haley and the Saddlemen in the late ’40s and became a pioneer of the rockabilly style with his slap bass technique and stage acrobatics. He played on the hit “Rocket 88” before leaving Haley’s band for a while to pursue a solo career.

“Bill Haley became Bill Haley and the Comets in the early ’50s when my dad was out on his own, but he rejoined Bill in 1955 when they started having some success and did some movies,” his son Greg Piccirelli told Daily Local News. Rex was featured alongside Haley in the films “Rock Around the Clock” and “Don’t Knock the Rock”.

The bassist left Haley’s band once again in 1958 to create his solo band Al Rex and the Regaleers, with whom he scored an underground classic “Hydrogen Bomb.” With seven children to care for, he left the music business in the early ’60s and took a job at Alan Wood Steel. He would perform off an on throughout his life. In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Comets.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Al Rex.

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