I almost forgot that I hadn't said anything about this most momentous passing that occurred this past week. Probably because my father's birthday was more significant so it overshadowed the event. But make no mistake, to someone like me whose life is filled with a passion for music, this latest death was huge.
Music and television icon Dick Clark passed away Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 82-years-old.
As old as I am I'm still not old enough to remember Clark when he first pioneered the very influential "American Bandstand". However, I knew enough about my television and music history to realize how crucial that show and he was to the music scene. For instance, he was one of the first show to successfully integrate his show. He actually had partners of different races dancing together. That was huge back then. That alone was enough to mark what an impact he had.
There was also the most obvious fact that he introduced generations to music that would be legendary for years to come. The young Beatles, the fledgling Jackson 5ive, newcomer Prince...just a few of the future greats that would all grace his show. While Soul Train gave us that urban element that America so desperately needed, American Bandstand brought it full circle by incorporating an even wider musical palate.
My earliest memory of Dick Clark was his hosting duties as the New Year's Eve countdown on ABC. New Year's Eve was not complete until I tuned into that show at least once during the night. I never watched the entire thing, but I would at least check out a little bit of it. It was almost as if I had to see Dick Clark on New Year's Eve to somehow validate it was actually New Year's Eve. He became as much a part of that evening as Santa Claus was with Christmas.
I think everyone would be kidding themselves if they didn't admit they saw the writing on the wall when Clark suffered that stroke in 2007. I was surprised that he made it back from that. Then when they kept using him very sparingly on air afterwards, it was obvious that he was in bad shape. Despite the fact that he was still looking very young for his age. We all knew that his days were numbered from that point forward but at least the days behind him were filled with some great memories he shared with us.
Rest in peace, Mr. Clark.