What a sad, sad day in Rock and Roll History. About two hours ago I was told that MIKE SMITH, Lead Vocalist and Keyboard Player of THE DAVE CLARK FIVE, had passed away earlier today!!! At the time I first heard it, this story was still "unconfirmed" so I held off mentioning ANYTHING until something could be substantiated. I see now that it has OFFICIALLY been posted on ROLLINGSTONE.com and MSNBC.com as a matter of record, as well as on MIKE's own website. What a COMPLETE tragedy ... in less than TWO WEEKS, THE DAVE CLARK FIVE are FINALLY going to be inducted into THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME, after being "passed over" last year in the midst of considerable controversy regarding ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME Co-Founder JANN WENNER's insistence that a Rap Band be recognized instead, despite (allegedly) enough votes for THE DAVE CLARK FIVE to be inducted as well. SMITH is the SECOND member of the quintet to pass away within the past fifteen months ... Sax Player DENNY PAYTON died in December of 2006 ... casting a large, sad shadow over this long-overlooked honor. (You may recall that DUSTY SPRINGFIELD died just days before SHE was due to be inducted, too, several years ago.) Although it was Drummer (and Crafty Business Man) DAVE CLARK who lent his name to the band, it was vocalist MIKE SMITH who defined their raucous sound with his distinctive vocal stylings. We were fortunate enough to see him perform during a RARE Tour of The United States a few years back, just prior to his fall in Spain that left him paralyzed and hospitalized since 2003. Ironically, MIKE had JUST been released to come home in December of last year when the news of THE DAVE CLARK FIVE's Induction was announced. To put it mildly, he was overjoyed. In fact, MIKE was looking forward to coming to America to be present at the ceremony and he even posted a message to this regard on his webpage:
Last night, David called us and told us the good news about the DC5 being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!! Tonight, Margo Lewis, my agent from TCI in New York, called and congratulated me, and gave us all the details about when and where the induction will take place. This is something I have worked for all of my life, and to put it mildly, I am absolutely thrilled to death!!!!! Charlie and I are definitely already making plans for crossing the pond in March to receive my award, and we can't wait to see all of you again. David is coming over for dinner on Sunday and we will all celebrate the good news!!! I haven't spoken to the other boys yet but I can tell you that David and I are really honored, and thank everybody that voted for us. WOW WOW WOW!
You can find the ROLLING STONE story here: http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/02/28/breaking-dave-clark-five-singer-mike-smith-dies-on-eve-of-rock-hall-induction/
and, just prior to hitting the "send" button, I found it listed on MSNBC.com as well: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23395584/
One has to wonder, under the circumstances, if JANN WENNER feels ANY sense of regret for last year's decision. A HUGE part of the focus in our 2007 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME Expose was the need to honor and recognize these deserving artists DURING their lifetime ... when they can be here to receive and appreciate this honor. Once again, our point hits home today. For ALL of THE DAVE CLARK FIVE Fans out there around the world, a sad, sad day in Rock And Roll History indeed.
THIS JUST IN:
This Official Press Release was JUST Posted on MIKE SMITH's Official Website:
February 28, 2008:
For Immediate Release:
DAVE CLARK FIVE SINGER-SONGWRITER MIKE SMITH, R.I.P.
Mike Smith, the lead singer and keyboard player of The Dave Clark Five, one of the premier bands to emerge during the 1960's "British Invasion", died today from pneumonia at Stoke Mandeville Hospital outside of London. His devoted wife, Arlene, who is known as Charlie, was by his side. Smith was 64 years old.Smith, who was due to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame with his band mates on Monday, March 10th, was admitted to the hospital's Intensive Care Unit yesterday morning with a chest infection, a complication from a spinal cord injury he sustained in September, 2003 that left him a tetraplegic (paralyzed below the ribcage with limited use of his upper body). Smith had been in the hospital since the accident, and was just released in December 2007 when he moved into a specially-prepared home near the hospital with his wife. Prior to his hospitalization yesterday, arrangements were being made to transport Smith to New York so he could personally attend the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. After his accident, Smith found tremendous support from his peers including Bruce Springsteen, Little Steven Van Zandt, and Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, who helped defray his medical costs through donations and fundraisers. Long-time fan and "Late Show" bandleader, Paul Shaffer, helped organize a benefit concert in New York in August 2005, which featured many of Smith's fellow "British Invasion" stars, including The Zombies and Peter & Gordon. A DVD of the benefit, Paul Shaffer and his British Invasion: A Tribute to Mike Smith will be released in March by VDI Entertainment.According to Smith's agent, Margo Lewis of TCI in New York, "These last five years were extremely difficult for Mike. I am incredibly saddened to lose him, his energy and his humor, but I am comforted by the fact that he had the chance to spend his final months and days at home with his loving wife, Charlie, whom he adored, instead of in the hospital, and that he was able to attend a recent concert in London by his good friend, Bruce Springsteen. He was extremely excited and honored to have been inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and I am glad that he will be remembered as a "Hall of Famer," because he was in so many ways."
I spoke with Charlie Smith just moments before receiving the above press release. She told me that Mike passed away peacefully last night, confident of heaven, after exchanging "I love you" with her. Mike's health had declined rather suddenly this past week. While the above press release mentions some celebrities, Mike was also very thankful to his many fans/friends who sacrificially gave to provide him his wheelchair, his van, and most of all, the encouragement and prayers needed to continue these past years. Mike will have a better view than any of us at the R&R Hall of Fame Induction, not to mention an even more glorious induction into eternity. This website will not pass out further specifics, exept as directed by TCI or by Charlie Smith. I cannot respond to your e-mails to answer further questions at this time. If you would like to send a sympathy e-mail (no downloads, pics, music or e-cards), feel free, I will collect them, and send them on to Charlie. The e-mail address here is firstname.lastname@example.org
In our time of sadness, let us remember that his music and memory live on in many of us. He has left this world a better place, and has gone on to a place that is better still. - RKB