Dick Clark passed away today.
He was 82…
A sweet reflection crossed my mind…
A fuzzy black and white television filled with the joyous images of a well-groomed, bright-eyed man in a tailored suit holding a microphone while exchanging smiles with musicians and people swinging to the music in a hip looking studio.
I don’t know about you, but every time a significant figure in my life passes I begin reminiscing about their legacy. As you may know, Dick Clark was best known for the hit television music performance show called American Bandstand. The hit television show, which featured teenagers dancing to top 40’s music, was hosted gallantly by Clark from 1956 all the way to 1989, which was its final season. The artists who performed on the popular television show are part of a distinguished list comprised primarily of music legends.
I can remember watching American Bandstand after school with my mother. My mom was cool, hip to the music of the time period. In fact, she had owned and operated a famous music club called “The House of Pegasus” in the early 60’s whose stage was graced by notable musicians including members of the Mamas and the Papas and other famous bands, as well as comedian George Carlin. My mom would explain to me who the artists on the show were and what she thought about them. Sometimes she would share gossip about a particular performer. Sometimes she would reminisce about the music and what it meant to her. It was a lot of fun watching the show with her. I treasure those times.
I know it sounds sappy, but those were the days. The 60’s revolution was in full swing and people were free to express themselves. Since I was raised by two caring parents who respected my creativity, I was allowed to fully immerse myself in the creative arts. And, Dick Clark and his television show were a very big part of that in my early years. It was truly inspiring watching artists live out their dreams on Dick Clark’s stage every day. It was inspiring seeing Jerry Lee Lewis pound on his piano keys. It was inspiring and mesmerizing watching The Temptations dance and sing. It was inspiring watching how the teenage dancers “grooved” and got swept up by the music. It was, after all, a part of what inspired me to pursue my life as an artist.
Of course everyone knows Clark best from his hosting of the ABC television show called Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve which featured the ball drop ceremony in New York’s Times Square. Clark began hosting the show in 1972, and despite suffering a stroke in 2004, courageously returned a year later. He would continue to faithfully host the show on an annual basis, with 2012 being his swan song.
Today, Ryan Seacrest seems to have stepped into Dick Clark’s shoes, capably replacing him as the host of the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Although I like Seacrest and believe that he has the same hosting chops as his predecessor I’m not quite sure if he has the same elegance that Clark possessed. There was something special about Dick Clark that transcended the normal field of television hosts. There was a unique radiance that shined through when Clark smiled. You could feel it when he spoke to you through your television screen. He made you feel ‘safe’ as if everything was going to be okay. As if everything in life was wonderful. As if there wasn’t anything to worry about. That it was okay to have a good time. I’m pretty sure that’s why he became the host of ABC’s New Year’s Eve television show. What better person was suited for the job? What better disposition could there be ushering in the New Year with you? The answer was easy. The answer was Dick Clark.
You will be missed Dick Clark. Every New Year’s Eve that passes we will be thinking about you. We will be thinking about your style and grace. We will be thinking about the memories that we’ve shared with you over the years. We will be thinking… For that there is no doubt. What a loss.
Dick Clark’s famous departing catchphrase was… “For now, Dick Clark… so long.”
For now, so long Dick Clark.