Guitarist Franny Beecher of rock’s Comets dies

     This March 21, 2005 file photo shows members of The Comets, from left to right, Marshall Lytle, Franny Beecher, and Joey Ambrose. Beecher, lead guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets, which helped kicked off the rock and roll era with the iconic hit “Rock Around the Clock” in 1955, died Monday, Feb. 25, 2014 in a nursing home near Philadelphia. He was 92. (Adam Rountree/AP Photo, file)

    This March 21, 2005 file photo shows members of The Comets, from left to right, Marshall Lytle, Franny Beecher, and Joey Ambrose. Beecher, lead guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets, which helped kicked off the rock and roll era with the iconic hit “Rock Around the Clock” in 1955, died Monday, Feb. 25, 2014 in a nursing home near Philadelphia. He was 92. (Adam Rountree/AP Photo, file)

    Franny Beecher, lead guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets, which helped kick off the rock and roll era with the hit “Rock Around the Clock” in 1955, has died. He was 92.

    Beecher’s daughter, Pauline Grinstead, said her father died in his sleep Monday night in a nursing home near Philadelphia.

    Beecher played with jazz musicians Buddy Greco and Benny Goodman before the Comets, whose hits also included “See You Later, Alligator.”

    Philadelphia’s Danny Cedrone played on the original recording of “Rock Around the Clock,” but Beecher played on the song’s national television debut and in films, remaining with the Comets until 1962.

    In the 1980s, Beecher and other Comets reunited and played tour dates around the U.S. and internationally.

    He was born Francis Beecher in Norristown near Philadelphia.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.