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Bill Haley
PASSINGS: Franny Beecher
PASSINGS: Franny Beecher

Franny Beecher, 92, a guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets, who helped kick off the rock 'n' roll era with the hit "Rock Around the Clock" in 1955, died in his sleep Monday night at a nursing home near Philadelphia, his daughter Pauline Grinstead said. The Comets, whose hits also included "See You Later, Alligator," are credited by some music historians with having recorded the first rock 'n' roll song in 1953 with "Crazy Man, Crazy," according to the group's biography on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website. Francis Beecher was born Sept. 29, 1921, in Norristown, Pa., started playing guitar before crowds when he was 17 and...