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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Time Machine Week 12

The way I see it, this man sums up everything that Time Machine was about.  The love of the music, the joy of youth.  And as he grew older, he became more than just the World's Oldest Teenager.  To my mind, there were only two choices of how to handle this memorial.  One would be to just have a week of silence- no chart, no stories, just a long goodbye and we'll be back next week.  The other was to do Dick Clark until he's coming out of your ears.

I have chosen the latter.  A man of sound deserves better than a moment of silence.  So, along with the regular chart stuff, we'll be replacing the usual specials with the Dick Clark we knew- and didn't know- and loved.

A full twenty-one songs debuted on the hot hundred this week.  I'll get to them in a minute.  One of the things I thought about was how many acts got a career kick-start by being on American Bandstand.  Here is an admittedly incomplete listing of acts that got their first television exposure (or close to it) on the stage at AB.

Chubby Checker
The Doors
Jackie Wilson
The Jackson Five
Tom and Jerry (better known later as Simon and Garfunkel)
Talking Heads
Johnny Cash
Buddy Holly
Ike and Tina Turner
Sam Cooke
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
The Drifters
Jerry Lee Lewis.

Back to our debuts for this week in 1970: Coming in at 98 is Melanie with the Edwin Hawkins Singers and Lay Down (Candles In The Rain); At 95 it's Brotherhood Of Man (featuring ubermench Tony Burrows) with United We Stand; Joe Cocker's cover of the Box Tops' The Letter comes in at 79; Brook Benton follows up his big hit Rainy Night In Georgia with his cover of My Way at 72; Diana Ross reaches the charts with her first official solo single, Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand), at 67; The Moments hit at 62 with Love On A Two Way Street; And a double hit for Credence Clearwater Revival- the b-side, Run Through The Jungle, comes in at 63, and the a-side, Up Around The Bend, comes in at 49. (Whoo!)

With that many songs hitting 42 this week, let's check out the other birthdays this week. Turning 30 is Toto's big #2 hit Rosanna; turning 35 was Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, Marvin Gaye's Got To Give It Up, and the Theme to Rocky- Gonna Fly Now, by Bill Conti.  Turning 40 were the Jacksons' Little Bitty Pretty One, the Moody Blues' Isn't Life Strange, Bread's Diary, Billy Preston's Outta-Space, and Little Jimmy Osmond's Long Haired Lover From Liverpool.  And finally, Dion's Lovers Who Wander hits the big 5-0 this week.  That's 18 birthday songs this week- I think Dick would be the first to blow out the candles...  BTW, the act on the show the closest to my own birthday- Smokey and the Miracles on May 20th, 1962.  I was 4 days old, Laurie was 9 days old (Just like the Naughty Lady From Shady Lane!)

One of the great stories I read involved Dick knowing when to let it ride, and when to push back.  His first show on radio station WFIL in 1952 was called Dick Clark's Caravan Of Music.  The music choices on that show were not his, however; current acts like Patti Page, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, and Eddie Fischer were considered "too extreme" by management.  I didn't think Perry Como could be considered extreme if he were live and nekkid in the studio, but whadda I know.  Rather than fight that battle, he did as the station asked.  Years later, just after he took over Bandstand, a huge deal was made about singer Frankie Lymon, a black man, dancing with a white girl on the similar-themed show Alan Freed's Big Beat- and the show was immediately cancelled.  Dick Clark made a point of not just using white acts doing black acts' songs, but the actual black artists as well.  Much like Al Joslon, he put a bully pulpit to good use.  Frankie Lymon himself made an appearance on Bandstand during it's first spring in 1958.

Speaking of appearances, here's some of the acts who appeared on bandstand that first year:

Jerry Lee Lewis- 5 times that first year
Jackie Wilson-4 times
Danny and the Juniors-3 times
and a long list that were on the show twice- Billy Williams Quartette (I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Right Myself A Letter, #3, 1957); Johnny Nash; the Everly Brothers; Chuck Willis, the "King of the Stroll" (What Am I Living For- #9 in 1958); Marvin Rainwater (a dude who wore Indian get-ups and hit #18 with Gonna Find Me A Bluebird in 1957); Sam Cooke; Bobby Day (Rockin' Robin, #2 in '58); Roy Hamilton (#6 with Unchained Melody in '58); and Jack Scott (#3 with My True Love in 1958).

Here's a multiple guess for you-  Who was the guest act on AB this week in 1970? A) Gladys Knight; B) BJ Thomas; C) Bobby Rydell.

The big movers both move up thirty, and land again right next to each other.  At 40, the Poppy Family with Which Way You Going, Billy?  And right below at 41, Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia.  The big dropper was not very big- Celebrate by Three Dog Night falls 15 to #29.

Eight things you may not have known about Dick Clark:

1. Dick was neighbors with Ed McMahon and introduced him to Johnny Carson.
2. His first on-air job was as a weatherman on WRUN- a station his uncle owned and his father managed.
3.In many interviews, he said his favorite music was Disco.
4.He idolized his older brother Bradley; Bradley was in the Army Air Corps in WWII, "so that the government could teach him how to fly"; He was killed over occupied Europe during the Battle of the Bulge.
5. Dick's middle name is Wagstaff.
6.  He used the professional name "Dick Clay" while he worked for his family on WRUN.
7. When he married wife Kari, on July (7) 7th, 1977, at 7 pm, his official address was PO Box 7777.  John Davidson's father performed the ceremony.
8. Four shows he appeared on as an actor (not as himself):  Adam-12 (an episode we saw not long ago on Antenna TV); Ben Casey; Lassie; and Perry Mason.

Trivia question #2- who were the three HOF acts that never appeared on Bandstand?

Eight songs enter the top 40 this week.  As I've already mentioned, Which Way You Goin', Billy? goes from 70 to 40. The Guess Who move up 2 to #39 with No Sugar Tonight.  Chicago makes the top 40 for the first time with Make Me Smile, up 11 to #38.  James Brown comes in at #37, up 8, with Funky Drummer.  Steppenwolf moves up 18 to #36 with Hey Lawdy Mama.  The George Baker Selection, who we'll become more familiar with later on with Una Paloma Blanca, move up 11 to 35 with Little Green Bag.  Johnny Cash roars up from 60 to 34 with What Is Truth.  And finally, up 15 to land at 32, Rare Earth with Get Ready.

Two songs enter the top ten, two drop out.  Bridge Over Troubled Waters falls from 7 to 13; while He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother (who is our grandpa chair song at 16 weeks in the 100) falls from 10 to 28.

Trivia Answers- BJ Thomas was on the April 20th episode.  Knight and Rydell were on the previous two shows.
Elvis did a phone interview on the very first national airing of Bandstand.  The Rolling Stones never came on the show.  And... well, let me keep you in suspense a while longer on #3.

Before we move into the top 10, I'v something else to say.  Tonight on the Pat Miller Show, Pat asked the question, should Dick have retired after his 2004 stroke? After all he looked terrible, and now all the kids will see him and instead of seeing the World's Oldest Teenager, they'll see this messed up figure who can barely speak, and will never understand who the man was to us.  Well, Pat then went on to admit, he was probably influenced in this thought by the fact that he himself was uncomfortable with watching Dick in such a condition. 

But Pat, to be the man he was to us, he HAD to be the kind of man who would go back out there.  The man who lived for the sound and the joy and the kids, and a man driven by doing something meaningful.  Here's what I mean by that.

Dick Clark dies: Entertainment icon became hero to stroke victims

Dick Clark might have been one of Hollywood's shrewdest businessmen, but for many Americans, his lesser-known role as a stroke survivor determined to live a normal life likely will be a more lasting legacy.

Clark died Wednesday at age 82, suffering a massive heart attack after a medical procedure. He had had a debilitating stroke in 2004 and had to learn to walk and talk again -- often with difficulty.

But Clark didn't give in to the symptoms of that stroke, which included slurred, slowed speech and partial paralysis. It was assumed that Clark would have to step down from his iconic "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" duties, and indeed he missed that year's countdown. But he was back in 2005, alongside his appointed heir apparent, Ryan Seacrest. Most recently, he helped the nation usher in 2012.

"Some people felt that it was bad taste on the network's part to have him return in that condition. The network got a lot of criticism for that," said Robert J. Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. "People said, 'This is supposed to be a celebration for the new year, I don't want to see someone in that condition.'

"But I was really glad to see him do it," Thompson said of Clark, who had attended Syracuse and was a frequent guest speaker there. "Dick Clark announced to the world that people can have strokes and still continue to function."
In doing so, Clark became a symbol of hope to the millions of Americans currently struggling in the aftermath of what's known as cerebrovascular incident. Many of those stroke victims grapple with depression and become withdrawn because they feel self-conscious about the lingering side effects, experts said.

And that, my dear Pat, is the Dick Clark I KNEW.  I ask you to set aside your concern about appearances and celebrate the life of a brave man.

Moving up one notch this week into the top ten, we have the Supremes first hit sans Diana Ross, Up The Ladder To The Roof.  Moving up a fast seven to #9 are Kenny Rogers and the First Edition with Something's Burning.  Frijid Pink drops a pair to #8 with House Of The Risning Sun.  Bobby Sherman's up one to 7 with Easy Come, Easy Go.  Badfinger climbs to #6, up 3 with Come And Get It.  Edison Lighthouse slips a notch to 5 with Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes.  Moving up that notch is Norman Greenbaum's Spirit In The Sky.  From here it all becomes very familiar:  Instant Karma at 3, ABC at 2, and and a fourth week at #1 for the third act that never played Bandstand- though a couple of song videos were featured- the Beatles and Let It Be.

I hope you enjoyed this, Dick.  You represent something we should never have lost and will never replace.


  1. I'm going to miss Dick Clark. Don't remember watching American Bandstand very much, but I used to watch $25,000 Pyramid frequently. As well as New Year's Rockin' Eve. R.I.P. Mr. Clark.

  2. CWM:
    As a former resident of Philly (home of the original American bandstand) this post is...

    The TM ride this week, the hits, the tribute..ALL of it is melded wonderfully to give us all a much better appreciation of GOOD music (as well as someone very responsible for bringing it ALL to us).

    Well done.

    And keep those hits coming.