Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rock, Roll and Remembering Dick Clark

America lost a legend yesterday when Dick Clark passed at the age of 82 from a heart attack resulting from a medical procedure. Clark was best known as the host of American Bandstand from 1956 through 1989.

While Clark wasn’t the original host of the show, he became synonymous with Bandstand and eventually purchased the rights to the show through his company Dick Clark Productions. During the 33 years of hosting the show (as well as afterwards), Clark never appeared to age giving rise to his identification as “America’s Oldest Teenager.”

The show was formulaic for teenagers – it included dancing to the hits of the day, pseudo-live performances by current and up-and-coming artists, the rate a record feature, and of course, Dick Clark. At least one young lady in my neighborhood (Kay Cook) had the opportunity to appear on the show – one of my friends was her next door neighbor. We both were impressed by her celebrity status.

In 1972, Clark branched out with his “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve,” which continued through 2011. Clark was host through 2003 and then following a stroke in 2004, he co-hosted the show. Somewhere, I have a cassette tape of the audio of the first broadcast in ’72.

In addition, Clark hosted several weekly syndicated radio shows. During 1981 to 1986, the Mutual Broadcasting System hosted “The Dick Clark National Music Survey.” He hosted “Countdown America” on his solely owned United Stations Radio Network from 1986-1994. In 1995, he launched “The U.S. Music Survey” – a weekly show he hosted until his stroke. Over the years, Clark co-hosted a number of other radio shows as well as a cadre of TV programs.

Clark promoted music to multiple generations and he will always be remembered for this contribution to the American music scene. Although his public persona was curtailed by his stroke in 2004, he will always be remembered for American Bandstand. “For now, Dick long.”

Les Elgart’s “Bandstand Boogie”

“Bandstand Boogie,” the original theme song for American Bandstand composed by Les Elgart, was used for the show from 1957 until 1974. Elgart’s original recording was used from 1969-1974.

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