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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In Memoriam: Dick Clark, 1929-2012

For now . . . so long.  Dick Clark, the "eternal teenager," died today at age 82. Another sad milestone for those of us who remember when record players, transistor radios, and just three TV channels were our only electronic links to the larger world.

Sometimes I sort of wish I'd been born ten years earlier, so I could have seen and enjoyed the whole progression from the fifties into the sixties - the first song I ever remember hearing on the radio was the Everly Brothers' "Dream, Dream, Dream," when I was a wee child on a road trip with my mama, and that must have been about 1959.

By the time I was 5 or 6, I was occasionally asking my parents to buy me a record - of course I mean a 45 - of things I heard the maid or the babysitter listening to. "Purple People Eater" was one that I played the wires off of, got a big kick out of that. I also liked "Splish, Splash" a lot, very amusing little ditty. And I was a great little Twist-er when that was big.

When I was in elementary school, some of the newest school buses had a built-in radio system, and I very clearly remember riding home listening to songs by the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons that way. And then, of course, the Beatles, which I couldn't get enough of, me and about fifty million other kids.

American Bandstand was just always there, every Saturday - I think it came on about noon, or maybe 11 a.m. since we lived in the Central time zone. I remember watching it lots of times, though I'm sure if it interfered with my favorite cartoons, the cartoons would have been my first choice. And for many years, it seemed as if Bandstand would just go on forever, and Dick Clark too.

But nothing does. Still, the memories are good, and in the end maybe that's all that can be said about any of us. We hope. Here's a clip that will bring back some memories for you, a quick review of hits from the fifties into the early seventies, from a 1982 special (the whole thing is viewable on YouTube, this is just part II):

And I know my truckbuddies will enjoy this little segment with the Village People from 1978:

Trivia:  Clark got his start in television hosting a country music show as Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders. Ouch!


Grandmère Mimi said...

The fifties were a great time to be a dancing teenager. We had romantic songs for slow dancing and the early rock and roll with the black musicians with the naughty, double entendre lyrics for jitterbugging. And then I heard New Orleans jazz as far back as I can remember. My father was a music person, and the old wind-up Victrola played steadily.

Russ Manley said...

Sounds like you were enveloped in good sounds then, that's great. By the time I began my teens at the end of the sixties, things had soured quite a bit (some people thought and still think it was wonderful): the best of the decade had already happened, and what was left was largely hard rock and practically nothing that was danceable. Until, against all expectation, dancing was revived with the advent of disco about 1974/75. That was my fun time, though in a very minor way being that I was so churchy then - and so closeted.

Tim said...

Sad news, we lost our UK equivalent to Dick, Sir Jimmy Saville, born 1926, last year, very similar career path. Like you Russ, I have few memories of the Fifties, Dell Shannon, Elvis, of course, at 6 I wanted my hair dyed black and with a quiff....didn't happen, the barber called my Mum! The 60's were great. and my tastes broadened from Pop to Folk and the Classics, then Funk and Disco. It's still expanding now, New Country, African and Mongolian, Spanish Flamenco and Portuguese Lado. Music does indeed make the world go round! ;)

Russ Manley said...

It does indeed. I wanted to get a Beatle haircut at age 9 . . . my father said absolutely not. He thought it disgraceful that men should have to brush the hair out of their eyes, "like a woman." Ha.

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