Dick Clark of "American Bandstand" dies at age 82

Dick Clark, a seminal figure in the evolution of popular music, has died at age 82 following a massive heart attack. As the host of American Bandstand, Clark introduced Americans to many of the biggest pop, rock, soul, disco and funk acts in the world, and help establish the careers of countless artists. Clark was also a music mogul, founding the American Music Awards and the annual New Year's Rockin' Eve show.

Dick Clark, a seminal figure in the evolution of popular music, has died at age 82 following a massive heart attack. As the host of American Bandstand, Clark introduced Americans to many of the biggest pop, rock, soul, disco and funk acts in the world, and help establish the careers of countless artists. Clark was also a music mogul, founding the American Music Awards and the annual New Year's Rockin' Eve show.

Clark began his career in Philadelphia, with the concept of creating a show that would highlight hot young rock stars performing in front of a teenage audience. His timing and concept were perfect, and American Bandstand, which soon moved to California, became one of the most popular and influential shows of the 60s and 70s.

Clark must also be credited with helping the popularization of soul music in America. Nearly every major soul crossover artist of the 60s and 70s appeared on Bandstand, with some performing literally dozens of times over their careers.  It was not unusual to see the O'Jays or Tavares or Teddy Pendergrass appear on the same show as the Edgar Winter Group or Helen Reddy.  Bandstand was a melting pot of popular styles that provided a common language and point of reference for large portions of the US.

Clark suffered a massive stroke in 2004 and never fully recovered. His public view was limited to sometimes uncomfortable appearances on New Year's Rockin' Eve, where viewers saw a rather fragile version of "America's Oldest Teenager."

Clark was and is rightfully revered as a pioneer, and his contribution to the music of the 20th Century cannot be overstated. He will be missed.

By Chris Rizik

We would love to read your reflections, below, about Dick Clark, particularly if you ever appeared on American Bandstand. Below is a picture that was sent to us by the group LTD of their appearance with Dick Clark in the 70s.

 

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