If heaven exists, there’s gotta be some quality music programming going on up there right now.
Barely two months after Don Cornelius, creator and host of iconic syndicated music show “Soul Train” passed away, his network counterpart Dick Clark, who hosted “American Bandstand” for thirty years in addition to creating the American Music Awards and creating/hosting “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” for over three decades, died of a heart attack this morning. He was 82 years old.
Billed as “America’s oldest living teenager” due to his youthful looks, Dick became one of the main faces of rock ‘n roll during the fifties and sixties and was a constant presence on television until almost the very end. Although watching him count the old year down on the Rockin’ Eve specials grew increasingly uncomfortable once he suffered a stroke that slurred his speech and limited his mobility, kudos to him for doing it as recently as this year.
My earliest memories of Saturday mornings (or early afternoons) consist of my older aunts and uncles switching back and forth between “Soul Train” and “American Bandstand” before settling on whichever show had the most interesting guests. The man was an integral part of my formative musical education, and he will be missed.
And my one personal memory of Dick dates back about a decade. I was leaving a Madison Square Garden tour with some friends when three men walked by, including a well-dressed smaller man. I did a quick double take and said (perhaps a bit too loudly) “Oh shit, Dick Clark!” The man turned, smiled, and then kept walking. Smooth as hell.