November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012
Dick Clark was a world-famous radio and television pioneer who, because of his longtime championing of pop music, along with his youthful good looks, was dubbed “America’s Oldest Teenager.” Clark was just 17 when he took his first job in the music business – as a sales rep for a New York radio station. By the early ’50s, he was hosting his own radio program, Caravan of Music at WFIL in Philadelphia. In 1956, he took over the station’s TV affiliate’s teen music program, Bob Horn’s Bandstand. Within a year, ABC brought the show, now American Bandstand, into living rooms across the United States. Over the next four decades, American Bandstand, with Clark as host, presented new records and “live” performances by hundreds if not thousands of famous and not-so-famous pop acts the world has ever known. The program, which aired until 1989, became the blueprint for teen music television programming, but none of its followers (except perhaps Soul Train) were ever able to come close to matching its cultural impact. Despite Clark’s clean-cut persona, he was a tireless supporter of the music he presented – whether he was speaking out against censorship, or choosing to play the original R&B records by their Black performers over the “sanitized” versions by White artists which were popular in his early days of radio. In 1972, Clark launched Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve which rang in the new year from Times Square in New York City with a program filled with performances from popular music acts of that particular year. Even after suffering a significant stroke in 2004, Clark returned in 2006, albeit with less screen time, as co-host of the program with Ryan Seacrest. Over the years, Clark ran several other ventures as well – game shows, award shows, restaurants, and live theaters. On April 18, 2012, Dick Clark died after suffering a heart attack. He was 82.
Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.