Although Dick Clark was not a musician, his name was inexorably tied with pop music for 3 unique generations, as he hosted American Bandstand from 1957 to 1987.
Just think about that. Think about the changes in the world, in music, that occurred during those thirty years.
1957 saw the first electric watch, the first frisbee, and Larry King’s first radio broadcast. National Guard troops blocked access of black students to Little Rock (Arkansas) Central High School until President Eisenhower responded with federal forces. Jack Paar’s Tonight Show first aired in July.
“Perry Mason” with Raymond Burr premiered on CBS-TV in September; “That’ll Be Day” by Buddy Holly & Crickets reached #1 in the same month.
“Leave It to Beaver,” debuted on CBS on October 4th, and on that same day, the first man-made satellite (Sputnik 1), was launched into space by the Soviet Union, prompting a fast and furious push for math and science education in the U.S. Also in response to Sputnik, the United States created the new agency ARPA, for which the Internet was later developed. IBM announced it would no longer use vacuum tubes, and released its first computer that had 2000 transistors.
Several nuclear tests were carried out in the United States, primarily in Nevada. Other countries followed suit, and the U.S.S.R. tested its inter-continental ballistic missile.
American Bandstand began its broadcast on October 8, 1957, on ABC TV.
In December, Jerry Lee Lewis wed his cousin Myra Gale Brown, 13, while still married to his 1st wife Jane Mitcham, “Music Man” opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 1375 performances, and Elvis Presley received his draft notice.
When 1967 began, the U.S. was embroiled in the Vietnam war and protests were frequent. Israel went to war with Syria, Egypt, and Jordan in The Six Days War. In the summer, American cities exploded with race rioting, especially in Detroit where the National Guard had to be called to stop the fighting and looting.
Twiggy opened a new era of fashion models and miniskirts continued to climb. The Beatles issued “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and still dominated music charts. They were joined by groups such as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Byrds. It was the “summer of love” for young people, especially those gathered in the Haight-Asbury area of San Francisco.
Interracial Marriage was declared constitutional by The Supreme Court in the “Loving v. Virginia” case, barring Virginia and by implication other states from making interracial marriage a crime. The first “Rolling Stone Magazine” was published.
The development of ARPAnet (precursor to the Internet) had begun the year before, and in 1967 IBM created the first floppy disk.
1977 — Just before the year began, Bill Gates left Harvard to devote all his time to Microsoft. Apple computers was incorporated, and Apple, Radio Shack, and Commodore issued “mass market” computers.
Elvis Presley died of a heart attack at age 42. Egypt surprised the other Arab states by recognizing Israel, and the U.S. gave the Canal Zone back to Panama. The New York World Trade Center was completed.
“Star Wars” opened and was an immediate hit, creating long lines at movie theaters. Popular singers included Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, The Eagles, The Bee Gees (who would have a huge effect on pop music in ’77 and ’78), Fleetwood Mac, and Wings.
The Emmy-winning mini-series “Roots” was aired. The Waltons, CHips, Charlie’s Angels, and Little House on the Prairie were popular TV shows.
In 1987, AIDS was raging, particularly among gay men, intraveous drug users, and anyone who received blood or blood products before blood banks were able to test for HIV. A new drug, AZT, was introduced this year, showing great promise for treatment and maybe a cure. In October, the U.S. stock market dropped 22%; the shock rippled around the world and created a significant economic recession.
Margaret Thatcher began her third term as England’s Prime Minister. Fox began
broadcasting, with “The Simpsons” one of its primary shows.Three Men and a Baby, Good Morning Vietnam, and Fatal Attraction were popular movies.
Microsoft issued Windows 2.0; IBM introduced VGA and the 3.5″ floppy drive. Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Bananarama, Heart, Whitney Houston, George Michael, and Bryan Adams had hits that year.
And the iconic American Bandstand went off the air.
Since 1972, Dick Clark was part of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, until 2011. He only missed one year in 2004, after a stroke. In the latter years, he co-hosted with Ryan Seacrest. We’ll miss him!