By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member
Growing up, I had a sister three years older and a brother 4 years older. They introduced me to Rock ‘n Roll at a young age. As I got a little older I appreciated the roots of Rock ‘n Roll and when they started watching Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, it stood to reason that I did too.
Dick Clark showed me the faces behind the music I had been listening to. People like Paul Anka, Bill Haley, Ritchie Valens, and Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon. I saw Chuck Berry “Duckwalk” and Chubby Checker crush out cigarettes with his feet and towel his backside with a towel; at least that’s the way grown-ups described the Twist!
Then I discovered girls and Dick Clark had that covered as well. All those girls doing the latest dances on his show: The Twist, The Pony, The Mashed Potato, The Hand Jive, and my favorite, The Stroll. I remember hurrying home after school to watch the afternoon edition of American Bandstand! Rock ‘n roll singers, pretty girls all dressed up and showing me all the latest dances; it was great! How I imagined it was me showing off my moves with the girls.
Okay, I didn’t have any moves, but thanks to Dick Clark, I could learn some.
Then of course there was “Rate a Record”. How frustrated I’d get when the kids didn’t rate a record as high as I did, I mean after all, “It had a good beat and was easy to dance too”; couldn’t they see that?
Perhaps the biggest thing Dick Clark did was bring Rock 'n Roll music into our living rooms and helped make it respectable to many of the critics. And for that I thank him. Well, that and the pretty dancing girls!
Rest in Peace, Dick Clark.
Danny and the Juniors, American Bandstand, 1958: