The American Bandstand (Extended) Hot 100
Somehow it's hard to believe that Dick Clark was only 82 years old when he died after suffering a "massive heart attack" Wednesday morning in Santa Monica, Calif. (Since I managed to survive one myself, I've noticed that anytime someone dies of a heart attack, it's always "massive."). Despite his youthful appearance and "eternal teenager" nickname, considering how long Clark had been in the public eye, I would have guessed he was even older.
It's also hard to believe it's been nearly 25 years since American Bandstand went off the air in 1989. With Soul Train and Casey Kasem's America's Top 10, those Saturday-afternoon shows were an important part of how I kept up with pop music in my non-MTV household.
Thursday morning, Rocks Off's inbox already had several statements about Clark's passing in our inbox.
Kenny Rogers: "I'm one of the lucky people who can say that I knew Dick Clark personally. Dick produced almost every awards show I was on during the 80's, and he constantly encouraged me toward success. He will be missed by everyone - especially by those who knew him well."
Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, creators of Philadelphia International Records and "The Sound of Philadelphia": "As fellow Philadelphians, we have admired Dick Clark and the 'American Bandstand' brand for many years, as it promoted Philadelphia music around the nation. Dick Clark was one of our inspirations for creating the 'Sound of Philadelphia' music brand. More importantly, we thank him for being one of the pioneers in promoting the Philly Dance and Music scene for the nation and world to enjoy.
Even Public Enemy weighed in, with a tribute in the group's newsletter to the late Soul Train host Don Cornelius, who died in February at age 75. Cornelius started Soul Train in part because he was frustrated with not seeing more black artists on Bandstand (a state of affairs Soul Train helped to change), so even that, after a fashion, was a tribute to the impact and influence of Clark's show.
To pay tribute today, I set out to find out exactly how wide American Bandstand cast its net. As a pop show, yes, it loosed a lot of crap on the airwaves. But in more than 30 years it also put a lot of performers on TV I would have never imagined. I did as much research as I possibly could on this, without watching every episode myself. Usually a Google search with "American Bandstand" and the artist was sufficient.
Many episodes are available to watch online at sidereel.com; that's how I confirmed PiL and the Fleshtones were on the show. Others didn't quite make the cut. For example, Austin punks The Huns are listed on Bandstand's wiki page but never played.
But X was on there. Seriously. Maybe even twice.