There was a standing ovation in rock n’ roll heaven this week when broadcasting legend and rock pioneer Dick Clark showed up…still looking like the world’s oldest teenager, no doubt. Clark, 82, died of a massive heart attack on Wednesday morning following outpatient surgery (possibly for cataracts) the evening before.
Clark had scaled back his on-camera time in recent years following a stroke in 2004. But, despite his post-stroke physical struggles with speech, he had continued his hosting duties in a reduced role at his Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve yearly telecast. He also suffered from Type 2 diabetes.
Dick Clark was the eternally fresh-faced personality who helped bring rock n’ roll into the mainstream back in the ‘50s with American Bandstand, one of the most influential TV shows ever, and one that he hosted for 30 years. He was savvy, shrewd, smart and even voted “Most Likely To Sell The Brooklyn Bridge” by his high school peers. Dick Clark was, without a doubt, a major influencer who showed parents just what their kids were into, welcoming artists ranging from Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly up to rockers like Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Slade, Y&T, Autograph, Dokken, Night Ranger, Giuffria, Stryper and more on Bandstand. He always had an uncanny knack of knowing the next trend in youth culture no matter what his age or his own personal musical tastes.
As an entrepreneur, he founded Dick Clark Productions, which produced movies, game shows, award shows including the American Music Awards and the Golden Globes, beauty contests and more. Clark also co-founded United Stations Radio Networks, which provides programs (including The House of Hair!) to thousands of stations.
Here’s a look at what some rockers had to say on Facebook, Twitter and other social media on the day of Clark’s passing:
Paul Stanley (KISS – pictured with Dick Clark and bandmate Gene Simmons): “As a little boy, I sat transfixed to our television every afternoon and Saturday night watching American Bandstand. Dick Clark was the face of rock and roll and its best ambassador. His decades of successes both in and outside of the music industry are unparalleled. He championed Kiss when others turned away and was instrumental in breaking us through his show, In Concert. Through the years, Dick was always available when I had a question or wanted guidance. Dick Clark was the rare exception who was a bigger person in real life than the public image or legend that was also to be his legacy. I will remember him with great respect and gratitude.”
Slash: “Sad news about Dick Clark. I can’t think of anybody in radio who has had more impact. He is going to be missed by many. There hasn’t been any one show that had more impact on music than American Bandstand. Often imitated but never duplicated.”
Alice Cooper: “I used to come home from elementary school to watch American Bandstand. It had all the new songs, all the new dances, and it had the happiest guy in the world presenting them to you. I had no idea that later in my career I would know Dick Clark on a professional level. I ran into him some years ago, and he said to me, “Hey Coop, if you had your own radio show, what would it be like?” I told him it would be more like the freeform FM stations of the ‘60s, where the DJs actually played what they liked and demographics didn’t play a role. He said, ‘Alice, why don’t you do it then?’ Just like that, my radio show Nights With Alice Cooper was born. It’s been 9 years later and I’m still on the air! And let me just add that NOBODY loved rock n roll more than Dick Clark!”
Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue): “RIP Dick Clark. For so many of us, you set the standard for music, radio and business.”
Jeff Scott Soto (ex-singer Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey): “RIP, a legend, a pioneer of rock and roll, the guy who set the bar for DJs around the world, Dick Clark, you are an important part of history that will never be forgotten!”
Glenn Hughes (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple): “RIP to old friend Dick Clark: thanx for bein’ part of our Cal Jam TV show.” Kip Winger (Winger): “RIP Dick Clark, we thought you’d live forever! Rockin’ the heavens and beyond!”
Kip Winger (Winger): “RIP Dick Clark, we thought you’d live forever! Rockin’ the heavens and beyond!”
Michael Sweet (Stryper): “RIP Dick Clark — it was an honor to perform on American Bandstand and to meet you back then. There was no one like you nor will there ever be.”