LIFE Dick Clark and the History of Rock 'n' Roll
Dick Clark, known widely as "America's oldest teenager," single-handedly formed the culture of the day on American Bandstand, and helped give rise to rock 'n' roll. He was a man of many roles: an entrepreneur, producer, game-show host and much more. It didn't feel like New Year's Eve in America if you weren't watching Dick Clark count down the minutes.
The statistics are staggering; Bandstand brought in 40 million viewers a day when the country's population wasn't even 200 million and when many people were at work-one might size that up to airing a Super Bowl every day! However, Dick Clark's influence transcended the music. Against dissent, he integrated the dance floor and gave Baby Boomer America a daily vision of what a non-segregated society could be; early guests on his show included Chuck Berry and James Brown, as well as Jerry Lee Lewis and the Everly Brothers. Clark even made television an interactive pastime by reaching out to his viewers and getting them to call in and say what they thought about the couple of the day, or the song. This made Bandstand the progenitor of much of today's TV culture-shows like American Idol, The Voice and Dancing with the Stars.
Dick Clark was also a friend of LIFE's; in this book, we bring back an earlier LIFE piece in which he reminiscences about the exciting early days of rock 'n' roll. He was a legend who introduced us to other legends, and for that, he will always be remembered.
- Pages: 80
- Date: May 29, 2012