A true American idol has left this world forever, on April 18th, 2012 Dick Clark passed away at the age of 82.
The name and face have been recognized by generations as he helped guide and mold the growth of rock ‘n’ roll.
Dick Clark started as a DJ but quickly became a staple of American households after American Bandstand hit national airways in the late 50’s. American Bandstand was more than a show; it bridged generations and cultures.
Clark had the smooth delivery of a DJ, the ear of a producer, and the mind of a businessman. He knew what would work. Dick Clark had a knack for picking the hit music and for knowing what would be acceptable by all generations. It was his smooth style that made the show a hit.
Dick Clark was a man ahead of his time. He helped black artists gain recognition by playing their original songs rather than versions done by white cover artists. He defended artists and their artistic freedom and he integrated black dancers onto the show before it was considered acceptable.
“It still wasn’t acceptable for them to dance with white kids, so the blacks just danced with each other. We were waiting for the explosion, but it never happened,” Clark told Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine in 1998. “The wonderful part about our decision to integrate then was that there were no repercussions, no reverberations, no battles at all – it just happened right there on a television screen in front of millions of people.”
In the 1985 interview, Clark acknowledged that he was accused of selling out to the ‘squares’ and that that his show was not a true ‘teenage experience’ as frequently touted, “But I knew at the time that if we didn’t make the presentation to the older generation palatable, it could kill it. So along with Little Richard and Chuck Berry and the Platters and the Crows and the Jayhawks … the boys wore coats and ties and the girls combed their hair and they all looked like sweet little kids into a high school dance.”
Under Dick Clark, American Bandstand ran on ABC from 1957 to 1987 and was one one of the longest-running TV series.
“I played records, the kids danced, and America watched,” was how Clark once described the series’ simplicity.
He was able to bring his magic to several other shows including The Golden Globes and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. He was a pioneer, entrepreneur and creative visionary who bridged and cultivated the music scene with traditional show business.
Dick Clark entertained and touched the lives of several generations. He is truly irreplaceable and will be greatly missed by millions of fans worldwide.