Today, we lost Dick Clark, a man who made a mighty impact in the entertainment industry.
Before the Fabulous Wailers recorded LOUIE LOUIE with Rockin’ Robin Roberts, they had a successful hit record with “Tall Cool One” on Golden Crest Records. They ventured out from Tacoma to the East Coast in 1959, and one of their big stops was appearing on American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark in Philadelphia. They did very well on this tour, and were approached by some talent agencies that wanted to manage them.
If only the Wailers weren’t teenagers committed to finishing their high school education in their home town, their history would have been very different, but that’s another story we’ll save for later….
Dick Clark was a man with a sharp eye for musical talent. One of his great collaborations was with Paul Revere & the Raiders, a Northwest band that happened to be signed with Columbia Records, the world’s largest record label in the 1960s.
Any astute musicologist will remind you that the Raiders’ first record with Columbia, as the FIRST rock band signed to the label, was of course, LOUIE LOUIE.
The connection between Dick Clark and Paul Revere & the Raiders turned out to be a very successful collaboration that lasted over various decades.
With the passing of Dick Clark today, Paul Revere shared these thoughts on his old friend on his webpage:
For my dear friend & mentor, Dick Clark.
I owe everything to Dick Clark. And I am SO thankful that I got to tell him so, six weeks ago, at his house in Los Angeles.
Once upon a time, way back in 1952, there was a local Philly show called BANDSTAND. In 1956, a young, charismatic, good-looking kid named Dick Clark became the host of that show. He helped make it so popular that on August 5, 1957 the newly-named, AMERICAN BANDSTAND, debuted nationwide on ABC. The rest is history.
AMERICAN BANDSTAND became an American institution, and Dick Clark became one the most well-known and beloved celebrities in show business, recognized by several generations all over the world.
What were the chances of actually getting to meet a guy like that, much less have a life-long relationship with him?
Dick first entered my life when he helped Paul Revere and The Raiders have our very first Top 40 hit in 1961, by playing “Like Long Hair” on AMERICAN BANDSTAND. I can’t tell you what a thrill that was for us, I mean, that was huge! But not nearly as huge as our next big break, orchestrated by our manager, Roger Hart.
Roger was able to get us a spot on the pilot of the Dick Clark production of a new TV show called WHERE THE ACTION IS. It was on five days a week on ABC, and from it’s debut on June 28, 1965, we appeared on more than 500 episodes and became a staple on the show. Our affiliation with Dick Clark and WHERE THE ACTION IS led to instant national exposure, nearly instant fame, a major recording career, and invitations to appear on other major television programs: American Bandstand of course, plus Johnny Carson, The Smothers Brothers, The Ed Sullivan Show among others, and even an appearance on Batman!
The show ended on March 31, 1967, but thankfully, Dick wasn’t through with us yet. He put us on TV again, this time on a summer replacement show called HAPPENING. Then again on the weekly, Saturday morning series’ (following AMERICAN BANDSTAND), HAPPENING 68 and HAPPENING 69. Dick loved us and he liked having us around, and we were a perfect fit for him and his teenage-targeted television shows. In the 80s when we did yet another weekly summer replacement show for Dick, and throughout the years appeared on countless TV shows and specials with him.
Dick and I worked on projects together outside of television as well. In 1992 we were partners in the very successful restaurant and nightclub called “American Bandstand” in Reno, Nevada. Bill Medley and I also opened the Branson “Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre” complex in Branson, MO. Bill myself and The Raiders performed there for 3 fantastic years.
Over the years Dick, his wife Kari and I have remained close friends, and have spent many memorable times together. Dick and Kari would have my wife Sydney and I stay at their beautiful Manhattan penthouse apartment whenever we were in New York, and invite us over to his wonderful West coast home whenever we were in Los Angeles. They have always been so kind and generous to us over years, both personally and professionally. Dick taught me so much about the music business, the television business and business in general. He showed me, by example, how to present myself in public, and how to represent myself in the real world.
Six weeks ago, Sydney and I were in Los Angeles, so we called Dick, and of course, he invited us to come over. We called Keith Allison (a former Raider and regular on the WHERE THE ACTION IS series) and invited him as well. It was just so wonderful to see Dick again, it had been a few years since the last time. We had lunch, talked current events and laughed and reminisced about the good old days – just a really nice time. I was a little sad when it was time to leave, and I promised myself that I was going to get out to L.A. to visit Dick more often.
We both had tears in our eyes as I hugged him and I told him what he had meant to me in my life, the part he played in shaping a young farm boy into who I became, and who I am today. He was my mentor, my friend, my big brother. The fact that I got to tell Dick that before he left us, makes me so happy in this saddest of moments. I really do owe him everything.
I loved Dick Clark and will miss him greatly, just like the rest of the country.
Visit the official PaulRevereRaiders.com webpage for some memorable pictures.