Dick Clark wasn’t the original host of the long-running TV music show American Bandstand, which ran for thirty-seven years – an impressive record by any standard – but he was and still remains the most famous host (and producer) associated with the series, presenting many of the biggest names associated with rock and pop music, not to mention R&B and rap, one reason why the series is fondly remembered by several generations of music fans and TV audiences, including the baby boomers who grew up in the post World War II-era; the music greats who appeared on American Bandstand was also one reason why the series managed to keep up with the times as well as changing tastes in music – at least for most of its run.
There’s no question that Clark played an important role in American Bandstand’s success – and not just because he was its host/executive producer, as well as his famous boyish looks (thus earning him the title of “America’s oldest teenager”). Part of Clark’s talent and legacy as both a personality and media mogul was the fact that he had both an eye and an ear for talent – which is why nearly all of the rock and pop music greats appeared on American Bandstand during his hosting tenure. That same sixth sense also played a role in Clark creating the American Music Awards in 1973, in which music fans played a major role in picking the AMA winners – not to mention the annual New Year’s Rocking Eve specials that Clark hosted on ABC for almost forty years (and I point out that fact with good reason – which I’ll explain in a little while). I don’t really know if Clark had his personal dislikes as far as musical performers – but this is a personal remembrance at best, not a detailed retrospective, which I’ll leave to more experienced journalists and media historians to write about.
Like many great TV shows whose popularities declined in its later seasons, American Bandstand’s popularity faltered in the 1980’s, thanks in part to MTV’s growing success – and by decade’s end, became a thing of the past. In the past decade, there was talk of reviving American Bandstand – a plan that came to naught, partly because the entertainment world had greatly changed by that. And perhaps it was for the best – especially in an age now partially dominated by YouTube.
Even until the end of his life, Dick Clark was still very popular – not even a stroke which forced him to miss out the 2004 New Year’s Rocking Eve broadcast could diminish his popularity. He had long since become a show business icon, partly because he was young at heart, and which helps to explain why he connected with the all-important youth market who helped to influence and change the entertainment industry forever, the kind of natural gift that defined his career – and one that is all too rare today, even in the age of MP3 players and viral videos.
John Lavernoich is the author of the novels Code Name: Chameleons and Chameleons To The Rescue, as well as close to various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet – to learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his writing achievements, please visit his official website (http://johnlavernoich.sharepoint.com), as well as his pages on Windows Live Spaces (http://cid-ef88d131988ab38f.profile.live.com), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/john.lavernoich?ref=name), MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jlavernoich), Twitter (http://twitter.com/JLav65), and WordPress (https://johnlav.wordpress.com). Mr. Lavernoich also maintains his own video channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/JLav65?feature=mhsn) as well as his own Author Spotlight page on Lulu Books‘ website (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Highroad).
©2012 John Lavernoich.