The seemingly perennial teenager or at least seemingly perennial young man has died at age 82 — Dick Clark, who had hosted American Bandstand and was synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll.
I first recall seeing him on TV in the mid 1950s when I was in elementary school and my sister attended the high school across the street from our house where souped-up cars or hot rods went parading by every day and night in authentic American Graffiti style.
And get this: when I was about ten I knew this kid a few years older than I who had a large 45 rpm record collection, all rock ‘n’ roll, in his basement and also had a record player down there, with a turn table just like the disc jockeys used. His name was Dick Clark. But not that Dick Clark, of course.
It always amazed me how for decades the famous Dick Clark never seemed to age. Of course he finally did show some age, and I lost track of him, although I know he went on to do all kinds of productions and host New Year’s Eve programs, but I never paid any attention to all that, except to see him on TV and hear him on the radio doing oldies from time to time. I think he may have done some of those unseemly sweepstakes promos — ever the pitch man.
I also saw him looking kind of mad and ugly in a Michael Moore documentary, but anyone would probably be annoyed by that guy.
And do we call this “the day the music died?” Well I guess not, but the guy who pretty much brought rock ‘n’roll to the mainstream has died.
Dick Clark sanitized it for family consumption.
By the time I was a teenager, instead of Bandstand, I was watching his show “Where the Action Is”.
I think he made lip synching look like the natural thing to do. I mean on his Bandstand and on his Where the Action Is show all the performers lip synced. There would not be the same studio sound without it and it would be all too cumbersome to do it live, at least at that time. I don’t know what they do these days.
By the time it came around to Where the Action Is in the mid 1960s, Paul Revere and the Raiders did not even make a pretense of doing their performances live. They used brooms in place of guitars.
And what I said about Dick Clark sanitizing things for family consumption — whenever he would comment on one of the singers or groups doing or saying controversial things, he would just roll his eyes and kind of talk around it all. Whether it was lyrics with explicit sexual suggestions in them or anti-war songs, he would just soft pedal it all and get away with it.
I don’t know what he’d do with the foul language and movements used today in modern music that may go by the name of rock or rap or whatever.
There have always been suggestive lyrics and suggestive moves. But I think the art has disappeared from it all and been replaced by pure vulgarity and disrespect for human kind.
And don’t I sound like a prude? No. it just seems like the beauty and mystery of it all are gone. And so apparently is the ever-wholesome style of Dick Clark.
I hope this does not seem like I was some kind of fan of the smarmy or Pat Booneish Dick Clark style. By his own admission, he was a businessman first, with little to no altruistic motive. But he was (is?) an American icon.