Somehow it's hard to believe that Dick Clark was only 82 years old when he died after suffering a "massive heart attack" Wednesday morning in Santa Monica, Calif. (Since I managed to survive one myself, I've noticed that anytime someone dies of a heart attack, it's always "massive."). Despite his youthful appearance and "eternal teenager" nickname, considering how long Clark had been in the public eye, I would have guessed he was even older.
It's also hard to believe it's been nearly 25 years since American Bandstand went off the air in 1989. With Soul Train and Casey Kasem's America's Top 10, those Saturday-afternoon shows were an important part of how I kept up with pop music in my non-MTV household.
Thursday morning, Rocks Off's inbox already had several statements about Clark's passing in our inbox.
Kenny Rogers: "I'm one of the lucky people who can say that I knew Dick Clark personally. Dick produced almost every awards show I was on during the 80's, and he constantly encouraged me toward success. He will be missed by everyone - especially by those who knew him well."
Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, creators of Philadelphia International Records and "The Sound of Philadelphia": "As fellow Philadelphians, we have admired Dick Clark and the 'American Bandstand' brand for many years, as it promoted Philadelphia music around the nation. Dick Clark was one of our inspirations for creating the 'Sound of Philadelphia' music brand. More importantly, we thank him for being one of the pioneers in promoting the Philly Dance and Music scene for the nation and world to enjoy.
Even Public Enemy weighed in, with a tribute in the group's newsletter to the late Soul Train host Don Cornelius, who died in February at age 75. Cornelius started Soul Train in part because he was frustrated with not seeing more black artists on Bandstand (a state of affairs Soul Train helped to change), so even that, after a fashion, was a tribute to the impact and influence of Clark's show.
To pay tribute today, I set out to find out exactly how wide American Bandstand cast its net. As a pop show, yes, it loosed a lot of crap on the airwaves. But in more than 30 years it also put a lot of performers on TV I would have never imagined. I did as much research as I possibly could on this, without watching every episode myself. Usually a Google search with "American Bandstand" and the artist was sufficient.
Many episodes are available to watch online at sidereel.com; that's how I confirmed PiL and the Fleshtones were on the show. Others didn't quite make the cut. For example, Austin punks The Huns are listed on Bandstand's wiki page but never played.
But X was on there. Seriously. Maybe even twice.
THE FIRST SEASON
Elvis Presley Jerry Lee Lewis Chuck Berry Sam Cooke Johnny Mathis The Del-Vikings The Everly Brothers Bill Haley & the Comets Gene Vincent Frankie Avalon
Brenda Lee Sarah Vaughan Wanda Jackson Lulu Etta James Darlene Love Dionne Warwick Cher Chaka Khan LaBelle Grace Jones
DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
Richard Simmons Cheech & Chong Martin Mull Merv Griffin George Burns Rosey Grier (minister and ex-pro football player) Leonard Nimoy Lenny & the Squigtones (Laverne & Shirley's Michael McKean and David Lander) James Darren (actor, Gidget, TJ Hooker)
Al Martino Vic Damone Bobby Darin Jerry Vale Andy Williams Tony Bennett Neil Diamond Cliff Richard Marvin Gaye Ravi Shankar (I had to put him somewhere)
ROCKERS & RAPPERS
Creedence Clearwater Revival John Mellencamp Greg Kihn Band Billy Idol Huey Lewis & the News The Sugarhill Gang Kurtis Blow Run-DMC LL Cool J Beastie Boys
Bananarama The Go-Go's Madonna Cyndi Lauper Roseanne Cash Blondie Pat Benatar Debbie Gibson Laura Branigan Bonnie Tyler
Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Johnny Cash Patsy Cline Roger Miller Conway Twitty Glen Campbell Skeeter Davis Eddie Rabbitt Kenny Rogers Alabama
ABBA The Village People A Taste of Honey Chic Tavares Hues Corporation Rufus Shalamar Donna Summer Quarterflash
Note: The above video is long and not the best quality, but it's too good not to share.
THE NEW WORLD
R.E.M. Romeo Void Sparks Los Lobos The Jam X Talking Heads Oingo Boingo Psychedelic Furs Public Image Ltd. (above)
Kiss Aerosmith Y&T Night Ranger Iron Butterfly Def Leppard Autograph Dokken Stryper Loverboy
B.B. King Isaac Hayes Rufus Thomas Sam & Dave Junior Walker & the All-Stars Bill Withers The Chi-Lites The Spinners Lou Rawls Prince
Donovan Pink Floyd Jefferson Airplane Love The Hollies The Fleshtones The Seeds The Raspberries Paul Revere & the Raiders Cannibal & the Headhunters
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TEN FROM TEXAS
Buddy Holly Thirteenth Floor Elevators Johnny Nash Sir Douglas Quintet Roy Orbison Mike Nesmith Bubble Puppy B.J. Thomas Dobie Gray Barry White