Dick Clark entertainment entrepreneur and trailblazer died on Wednesday of a heart attack. He was 82.
Having hosted Bandstand from the fifties through to 1987 and 30 years of New Year's Rockin' Eves, Clark was famed for his special ability to meld music with T.V. He was not necessarily a huge music fan being quoted as loving "disco" above any musical genre in interviews. At the end of the day he was perhaps one of the greatest salesmen to have ever lived. It comes as no surprise that he was voted "Most Likely to Sell the Brooklyn Bridge" at high school.
American Bandstand commenced in 1957 and it was Dick Clark who introduced the U.S to Rock n Roll on a large scale and notably removing the " all white policy " and introducing the world to artists such as Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker. Even so, he did play it safe and pretty much ignored The Beatles and The Rollig Stones (not tame enough). He famously once told Rolling Stone " "I'm not gonna sit here and tell you I did this solely to keep music alive, to perpetuate my own career first and foremost, and secondly the music."
Controversially Clark was one of the first media stars to be investigated for "cash for comment", he admitted to accepting items such as fur and jewellry and having a financial interest in some of the acts that frequented Bandstand.
Tributes have flowed, Jerry Gross, lead singer of Philadelphia 'Bandstand' dance craze regulars The Dovells had the following to say about the passing of Dick Clark:
"Dick Clark was a legend who helped a lot of acts, including us, gain stardom and have many, many hit records. The entertainment world will sorely miss Dick Clark."
Sound of Philadelphia pioneeers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff have mourned his passing with the following statement, "As fellow Philadelphians, we have admired Dick Clark and the 'American Bandstand' brand for many years, as it promoted Philadelphia music around the nation, Dick Clark was one of our inspirations for creating the 'Sound of Philadelphia' music brand. More importantly, we thank him for being one of the pioneers in promoting the Philly Dance and Music scene for the nation and world to enjoy. We
send our sincere and deepest condolences to Dick Clark's family."