In 1953 Haley scored his first national success with an original song called "Crazy Man, Crazy", a phrase Haley said he heard from his teenage audience, again released on Essex.
Haley later claimed the recording sold a million copies, but this is considered an exaggeration.
"Crazy Man, Crazy" was the first rock and roll song to be televised nationally when it was used on the soundtrack for a 1953 television play starring James Dean.
In the spring of 1954, Haley and His Comets left Essex for New York-based Decca Records, where they were placed under the auspices of veteran producer Milt Gabler, who would produce all of the band's recordings for the label and who had been involved in creating many proto-rock and roll recordings by the likes of the Andrews Sisters and Louis Jordan dating back to the 1940s.
Bandleader Bill Haley had previously been a country music performer; after recording a country and western-styled version of "Rocket 88", a rhythm and blues song, he changed musical direction to a new sound which came to be called rock and roll.
1949–1952, and performed mostly country and western songs, though occasionally with a bluesy feel.
During those years Haley was considered one of the top cowboy yodelers in America.
Many Saddlemen recordings were not released until the 1970s and 1980s, and highlights included romantic ballads such as "Rose of My Heart" and western swing tunes such as "Yodel Your Blues Away".
The original members of this group were Haley, pianist and accordion player Johnny Grande and steel guitarist Billy Williamson.