Monday, April 23, 2012

Forgotten Hits Remembers Dick Clark

As expected, we received hundreds and hundreds of emails regarding the passing of Dick Clark ... the most we have ever received surrounding the death of a music legend.  (Previously, that distinction belonged to Gene Pitney ... and, for the record, the biggest overall response we ever received was pertaining to our Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame rave-out a few years back) ... but Dick Clark touched the lives of SO many over the years that many of you felt compelled to share these feelings and memories with us ... and we thank you for that ... this is the very foundation on which Forgotten Hits was built some thirteen years ago ... and it's this sharing of the memories and milestones that keeps us going today.

We first heard the news on Wednesday, the 18th, right around 1:30 pm.  Within minutes after that, many of you sent in news clippings ...  

This one's from

Dick Clark Dead at 82 of a 'Massive Heart Attack'  
Dick Clark -- famed TV producer and "New Year's Rockin' Eve" host -- died from a massive heart attack this morning ... TMZ has learned.
Clark's rep tells TMZ, the TV icon had been in St. John's hospital in L.A. after undergoing an outpatient procedure last night. Clark suffered the "massive" heart attack following the procedure. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Clark was 82.
Clark's health had been on the decline since he suffered a significant stroke in 2004 -- forcing him to retire from his hosting gig at "New Year's Rockin' Eve," which he created in 1972. Ryan Seacrest took over in 2006. Dick has appeared on the show sporadically ever since. His final appearance was in 2011.
Months before suffering a stroke, Clark told Larry King he also suffered from Type 2 diabetes
Dick hosted Miss USA from 1989 - 1993 -- and Miss Universe 1990 - 1993.
In addition, Clark also hosted a bunch of game shows -- like "Pyramid," "Scattergories," "The Challengers," and many more.
Clark got his first big break in 1956, hosting what was called "Bob Horn's Bandstand" ... what would later be renamed "American Bandstand." Clark continued to host and produce "American Bandstand" until 1989.
Clark had been inducted into practically every hall of fame on the planet -- including the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.
Clark had also received a total of 5 Emmy Awards for his work, as well as a Peabody Award. One Emmy was a lifetime achievement award.
Clark was married 3 times -- and has 3 children from his first two marriages. He is survived by his current wife Kari Wigton.
"For now, Dick Clark ... so long."  

Next came a special bulletin from AllAccess:
DICK CLARK, longtime radio and TV host and powerhouse producer who changed the way we listened to pop music with AMERICAN BANDSTAND, died today at the age of … » read story

Followed by breaking news from ...
Dick Clark Dead at 82 
Dick Clark, the revered TV producer whose "American Bandstand," "American Top 40" and  "New Year's Rockin' Eve" helped shape modern pop music for decades, died of a "massive heart attack" at a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday, his agent confirmed to Billboard. He was 82.
For more info, go to

We found this posted on Ron Smith's website: 

Dick Clark, long-time host of ABC-TV's "American Bandstand" and "Rockin' New Years Eve" and known affectionately as "America's Oldest Teenager," died Wednesday (April 18) at a hospital in Santa Monica, California, from a massive heart attack. He was 82.
Born in Mt. Vernon, New York, he began his radio career in Utica, New York, before attending Syracuse University where he obtained a degree in business. A series of radio and TV jobs followed, but his big break came after he moved to Pennsylvania where his neighbor, Ed McMahon, helped him get a job with radio station WFIL in Philadelphia. When Bob Horn was let go by WFIL television in a 1956 drunk driving scandal, Dick took over the station's "Bandstand" dance program. A year later the ABC network picked up the show for national airing as "American Bandstand." Dick was not without controversy, though. His various side interests in music labels and publishing brought him to the attention of Congressional payola investigators. ABC forced Dick to divest himself of these conflicts of interest and he was essentially cleared. Dick continued to host the "Bandstand" program
-- daily until 1963, then weekly until 1987. He hosted a prime-time variety program from 1958 - 1960 and produced the daily "Where The Action Is" music show from 1965 - 1967. Dick Clark Productions expanded into other areas as well, including "The $10,000 Pyramid" game show (which later increased in value until just becoming "Pyramid"), "The American Music Awards" and "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes." In 2004 he suffered a major stroke from which he never fully recovered. However, he continued to appear at the stroke of midnight with his wife each New Years on TV. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976. The four-time Emmy winner will forever be remembered by his sign off, "For now, Dick Clark ... so long."   

And then, throughout the day ... and the rest of the week ... updates, tributes, memories and nostalgia ...

Kent ...
They used to call Dick America's oldest teenager.
Click here: Times Square Museum and Visitor Center Honors Dick Clark    
Check out Wild Wayne's Clip of the Week ... Dick Clark interviews Connie Francis ... 
Frank B.

Hi Kent,
On my facebook I belong to the American Bandstanders. The American Bandstand Dancers met at noon on Thursday, April 19th, at Dick Clark's star on Sunset and Vine in Hollywood in front of Chase Bank on Vine. 

Dick Clark was a true ambassador of Rock and Roll.
Mike De Martino
President of the Lovejoy Music Club

Sad news.  As you say, Dick Clark was an icon.  "American Bandstand" never made it to these shores - by comparison with the States, we were starved over here in the 50's and early 60's of decent pop shows. The BBC had a go with "6-5 Special" and ITV countered with "Oh Boy" - both Jack Good concoctions - unfortunately both shows suffered by centering on our mainly weaker home grown talents of the 50's.  A blast of Chuck Berry on UK TV in the 50's would have been seismic!! Jerry Lee came over in '58 but only lasted three shows before he was sent packing with his (very) young wife!!
If you go on to Wikipedia, they have a page on American Bandstand plus another page listing all of the acts who appeared over the years - incredible!!

Kent -
Dick Clark's passing brought back a deluge of memories for me. While there were many others of equal importance to rock and roll, no one was more important than Dick Clark in contributing to the rise in popularity and establishing rock and roll as a permanent part of life and not just the passing fad that our parents claimed. I remember coming home from school and turning on American Bandstand and wishing that I could have long hair in a ducktail instead of the crew cut that everyone at squeaky clean New Trier high school wore. Instead I bought a horizontal stripe sweater just like the ones the boys on bandstand wore and fantasized about the sexy blond (Franny) who was on every show. I also remember Dick Clark's nighttime show advertised by Beech Nut Spearmint gum and wearing Big Name Buttons. I don't know why but I remember that the first act on the first show was  the Royal Teens singing "Short Shorts". And I remember my disappointment when Dick packed up the American Bandstand show and took it to California. For me it just wasn't the same.
But when I reflect back I now realize just how significant his contributions to music really were. Tony Orlando was on Cousin Brucie's show today and he said "only God was responsible for creating more rock and roll stars than Dick Clark"
Steve Davidson   

What can I say other than RIP Dick Clark, a man we all grew up with, that is / was / always will be a class act that will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. How lucky we were to have had him continue to grace our homes and entertain us every New Years after his stroke in 2004.

I was living on Guam when American Bandstand first went national, and even though it wasn't available to us, we heard about it.  When I finally made it back to the mainland, one of the first things I did was find out when and where it was on and checked it out.  It was as good as I'd heard it was.
From 6/58 through 6/60, I was a regular viewer and really enjoyed seeing all the pop music stars drop by.  Then I enlisted and went back overseas again (Japan) and lost touch with it.
In my 15 years as a radio DJ, I heard many stories about Dick and "AB", some good and some not.  But, in the end, I have to recognize his impact on my own life, and acknowledge his staying power in the music and TV biz.  He certainly earned his spot as an icon for pop culture. 
Thanks, Dick for all that music and all those memories.  Well done!
Jim "Southern" 

RIP Dick Clark,
I try to keep my memories of Dick Clark isolated to the American Bandstand years when he brought all that great Rock 'n Roll, Doo Wop and Motown songs and groups into our living rooms. All that New Year's Eve crap belongs to the "Modern Merchandisers" who took away the innocence of our music.
He's where he belongs now up with all the stars who he helped along in there early years. God Bless you, Dick Clark.
To me, Dick Clark was and always will be the reason I fell in love with a new art form  during my early years and that, of course, was Rock N Roll. Hearing  the news yesterday  brought such sadness but also let me take a look back on how he influenced my love and passion of oldies. 
I grew up on the north side of Chicago and we had a typical household with the one black and white TV in the living room and a stay at home mom.  I would come home from school every day and put on The Mickey Mouse Club to see the latest adventures of Spin and Marty and the likes of Annette and Cubby.  One day my older brother convinced my  mom to let him watch  this show called Chicago Bandstand, as kids from his high school  were dancing that day on the show.  I got so upset but took a peak and saw something that got my interest.  Within a few days, I had discovered another show on ABC called American Bandstand.  I remember in those days that Johnny Carson had an afternoon show that led into AB.  To say the least, I was hooked and every day I would rush home  from school to watch Kenny and Arlene and Justine and Carmen, etc, etc., dance to the latest hits.  1 1/2 hours a day and soon Dick Clark had a Saturday evening show sponsored by Beechnut gum and I can remember the slogan like it was yesterday.  Wrapped in green and made for a teen.  I remember the day in 1961 that Dion  lip synched Runaround Sue three times in an hour. By 1964 the early era of Rock N Roll had ended.  The British Invasion had started and Dick Clark moved AB from Philadelphia to LA and soon after it became a once a week Saturday show taken over weekdays by another Dick Clark show called Where the Action Is.
Those early days were magical and I have to admit while today is so sad, it's also a day to celebrate the life of a person who was probably the major factor in the rise of the music we all love and that's Rock and Roll.  He made the music safe and the parents bought into it and trusted  his clean shaven looks and smile.
For so many people today Dick Clark means New Year's Eve or the $25,000 Pyramid but to me one sentence says it all.  Yes, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it ... and I give it a 98. Thank you, Dick Clark, for a lifetime of memories.

The thing about Dick Clark when I was a kid growing up in Dodge City, Kansas, was that he was ALWAYS visible, but not someone you always were TRYING to see that much.  If Bandstand was on and you happened to be at home Saturdays, you watched it!  You always knew his show would be on, so most of the time you tried to catch it, but if you didn't, there was always next week or always "Action" to watch when at home from school for lunch. 
In Dodge City, we did get Lloyd Thaxton for a season or two, but basically, "Bandstand" and "Action" were what kids nationally could access that lived in rural communities.  It was OUR chance to see what big city kids were dancing to and I loved "Rate-a-Record" segments. 
Plus, you did not have to have a big hit to be on "Action" so I could see video of groups that would never have even known existed, had it not been for "Action". 
Dick was always on TV and radio.  He had a syndicated five minute thing on WLS in the 64 era.  I still have an acetate of one of those shows.  Soon, WCFL's Jim Stagg was copying this and putting out "Stagg Line" programs on 45 acetates as well.  So many things that Dick Clark did were copied ... from the Bandstand-type shows (not an original Clark idea, of course) to syndication programming ... to group interviews ... to Top 10 boards, you name it.  He may not have invented things always, but no one knew this at the time.  They just knew what he did worked and they tried it and it often worked for them, too.  Like with Sullivan ... if you got on his shows, it was a BIG moment.  Unlike Sullivan, Dick had a great presence at the mic and a class presentation that many of the top DJs followed.  Dick Bartley certainly continues the great sound and presence that Dick Clark had throughout the 60's and 70's.  BUT, no one did it better than Dick Clark. 
Rest in Peace. 
Clark Besch   

Hi Kent -
What very sad news of Dick Clark's passing. I used to rush home from school to watch American Bandstand to learn all the latest dances, see my favorite dancers plus all the guest stars he had on the show.
I am lucky to have a VHS tape of his 1957 AB December show and some of his Saturday night Beechnut gum Flavor IFFIC shows!  I corresponded with the president of the AB fan club for a few years and got them thru him. I also have photos of the original dancers like Arlene Sullivan, Frannie Giordano, Bob and Justine and others!
What a class act innovator he was. So glad I grew up at the time he was in his prime with American Bandstand. I know he became a famous quiz show host and producer, but I will always associate him with American Bandstand.  I think that was his favorite contribution, too!
Cant wait for your tribute to him and more on his background. Also look forward to the comments from all his fans!!
And Now TJ Lubinsky uses his old film clips of singers that appeared on his shows who have passed on but we can still enjoy ...
Thank you Kent for all you do to preserve rock and roll memories!!!!
We're letting the fans and friends of Dick Clark do all the talking this time around ... it is unreal how many responses we received ... and how nearly every single response paints a portrait of Dick Clark as a very caring, sharing and generous man.  (kk)  

PHILADELPHIA – A quarter century ago, Dick Clark became the 11th musical figure with Philadelphia roots to be honored with a bronze plaque along the City of Brotherly Love’s new Walk of Fame.   
Clark, whose passing yesterday made a seismic quake on the pop culture landscape, came back to Philadelphia in 1987, where his career took off as the host of “Bandstand,” to see his plaque unveiled. He was joined in the ceremony by Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon, two Philadelphia ‘Bandstand’ era pop stars whose careers were launched by Clark on the show. At the time, Clark said his inclusion on the Walk of Fame was special as a non-musician, “because you accept on behalf of all of us who love music and can’t perform it.”   
In its 25th anniversary year, the Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA), the non-profit organization which honors Philadelphia music through the Walk of Fame and other programs, today reminds the world why Clark was among the first inductees to be immortalized with a bronze plaque. And in so doing, the PMA is making plans to pay further tribute to his memory in the months ahead.   
“Dick Clark was an immensely creative talent with an indelibly strong connection to Philadelphia as a showcase for popular music,” said Karen Lewis, PMA chairman. “The Board of the Philadelphia Music Alliance extends condolences to his family. We will miss his inspiration, ingenuity and optimistic outlook.”   
The day after Clark’s plaque was installed in the sidewalk along the Walk of Fame, Clark appeared at the first Philadelphia Music Awards show for induction into the Hall of Fame. Clark, who began hosting “Bandstand” here in 1956, said local support for emerging talent – one of the purposes of the PMA – is essential for the development of new performers.   
"The hardest thing for a new artist to do is not to give up," he told a reporter during his Philadelphia visit to receive the PMA honors. "If they get no support and no help, they will get discouraged and they'll do something else."   
Above and beyond immortalizing careers through induction ceremonies along the Avenue of the Arts, the global aim of the Philadelphia Music Alliance is to become THE music authority in Philadelphia. True to its name, the PMA aims to stress its position as a vital alliance, forming new partnerships with all levels of the Philadelphia music community, the public and private sector, while further empowering the city’s ongoing musical legacy and encouraging the growth of Walk of Fame inductees for future generations.   
The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame is a living tribute to Philadelphia’s rich music history and a vital force unifying the city’s diverse cultural communities along the Avenue of the Arts.

Rate a Record - YouTube  
Rate A Record - my best AB memory.  American Bandstand used 35 to 98 to Rate-A-Record.  Why did they use those numbers?   
Answer: A couple of selected dancers got to play "Rate a Record," where they heard two songs and graded them on a scale of 35 to 98. The range, according to Clark, reflecting the notion that no song was all bad or perfect. 
Enjoy the video.  It's vintage.  

First Davy Jones, now Dick Clark ... MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!
Ed Pond 
And let's not forget Don Cornelius ... and far too many others recently to count.  Sorry to say that time is catching up with all of us.  (kk)

Some of you even wrote your own tributes ...

Thanks for the opportunity to share thoughts on Dick Clark. Here's my story on    

"Remembering Dick Clark, who gave generations the chance to dance"
found at: 

In keeping with your theme of all brothers Gibb, in this very story, one of the references to random samplings of some of the generational performers appearing on episodes of "American Bandstand" is to one by child actor Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster), whose 1972 release of the single "I.O.I.O." was possibly the only song he'd become known for. Why? Maybe it's because the songwriters were (wait for it ... ) B. Gibb and M. Gibb. 
How 'bout them apples? 
Dawn Lee Wakefield
Very cool!  Way to kill two birds with one stone, Dawn Lee! (lol)  kk
David Beard / Endless Summer Quarterly
Dick Clark Timeline: His Life & Business
A look back at the life and business of America’s oldest teenager:  from his birth in 1929 in Bronxville, New York, working as a radio announce at his WRUN to launching American Bandstand as well as his "Psych-Out" movie with Jimi Hendrix, the American Music Awards and his annual New Year's Rockin' Eve -- and so much more -- Clark was one of the music industry's most successful and pioneering entrepreneurs.    

Lots more to come ...

Beginning tomorrow we'll hear from some of those who knew him ... worked with him ... or crossed paths with him over the years.
(You won't want to miss this!)

Please join us this week as Forgotten Hits salutes and remembers 
Dick Clark!

TONIGHT:  I've heard from a number of readers that Entertainment Tonight will be airing a special look at the Shawn Swords / Paul Russo documentary "Wages Of Spin" this evening as part of their continued Dick Clark coverage.  (They ran a very-nicely-put-together one hour Dick Clark commemorative special over the weekend, too, I'm told.)  Interesting to see that they're showing you BOTH sides of Clark's career.  (Look for "Wages Of Spin" coverage in Forgotten Hits later this week, too!)  Check your local listings for air times.

WAGES OF SPIN:  Of course all of this is old news for our Forgotten Hits Readers ... we've been telling you about "Wages Of Spin" since 2007 - 2008 ... and even ran a copy of a National Enquirer story run a few years ago.