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Rock and Roll Saturday – Dick Clark

December 31, 2011

Dick ClarkConsidering this Rock and Roll Saturday falls on New Years Ever, I thought I would pay a bit of homage to a man that brought rock & roll into our living rooms for many years, Mr. Dick Clark.

Bandstand came to be in 1952 on Philadelphia television station WFIL. The original program was hosted by Bob Horn who left the program in 1956 following a drunk driving arrest. Horn was immediately replaced with another on air talent at the station, weatherman Dick Clark.

In August of 1957 ABC picked up the program for a national broadcast and changed the name to American Bandstand. Clark often interviewed kids in the studio about the music being played. A popular segment of the program was “Rate-A-Record” where two guests would provide opinion on the music being played. The phrase, “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it,” became synonymous with the program. Cheech and Chong were known to drop in and fill in as reviewers.

The program maintained its success on the advertising dollars spent on the target demographic of the American Teenager. The show aired Monday through Friday until September 7 of 1963 when it was moved to a once a week spot on Saturday afternoons. A year later ABC moved the program from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. In 1967 American Bandstand began broadcasting in color.

Through it all Dick Clark brought top 40 from the radio to the stage and introduced generations of teens to music.

Some of the bands to play on American Bandstand over the years:

  • Aerosmith
  • Adam Ant
  • Bon Jovi
  • Beach Boys
  • Oingo Boingo
  • David Bowie
  • The Carpenters
  • Jim Croce
  • The Cowsills
  • Def Leppard
  • Neil Diamond
  • Peter Frampton
  • The Grass Roots
  • Isaac Hayes
  • Billy Idol
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Etta James
  • B.B. King
  • Men At Work
  • Van Morrison
  • Pink Floyd
  • Prince
  • Little Richard
  • Run DMC
  • Slade
  • Strawberry Alarm Clock
  • Talking Heads
  • Tommy Tutone
  • War

For a full list of acts to play on American Bandstand click here.

As they say, all good things must come to an end and on October 7, 1989, Bandstand broadcast its last show.

In 2002 Dick Clark hosted a special 50th anniversary edition. Michael Jackson, a frequent Bandstand guest, performed Dangerous.

Dick Clark New Years

Dick Clark Times Square 1986

On December 8 of 2004r, the then 75-year-old was hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering what was initially termed a minor stroke. On December 13, 2004, it was announced that Clark would be unable to host his annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast that had aired for all but one year since 1972. For the 2004 show, Regis Philbin was the substitute host, and during the show on December 31, 2004, he gave his best wishes to Clark.

On December 31, 2005, Clark made his return to television, returning to the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast. During the braodcast, Clark remained behind a desk and was shown only in limited segments. Though Clark had noticeable difficulty speaking, he was able to perform his famous countdown to the new year.

On air, he stated, “Last year I had a stroke. It left me in bad shape. I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It’s been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I’m getting there.” Before counting down to 2006, he mentioned he “wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”

Dick Clark brought music to the masses for many years. At 82 years old he’ll be back tonight to host New Years Rockin’ Eve.

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2 Comments
  1. December 31, 2011 5:27 pm

    What a living legend he is. The news of his stroke hit me hard. You can bet I’ll be tuning in to see him tonight, though I wonder how clear an image I’ll get through misty eyes…

    Happy New Year! 😀

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