COMMENTARY | Reuters reports that on April 18, television and music legend Dick Clark died at the age of 82. Clark suffered a massive heart attack after a medical procedure, and he was unable to be revived. Clark might be known for “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” on ABC, but he had a bigger impact in the music and television industry throughout his lifetime, which will live on for generations to come. As a huge music and television fan, here is what Clark really meant to me, and how he has impacted music forever.
Although Clark was not a musician himself, he contributed more to the music community than some actual musicians did. Clark hosted “American Bandstand,” which was one of the first television shows to bring music to a national audience. I was not alive when this show was popular, but I do remember my mother telling me about Clark hosting that show, because she is a huge Elvis Presley fan. Clark interviewed Presley during his “American Bandstand” television debut, and it really helped parents see that Presley was not as bad as what they thought, even with his uncontrollable hip thrusts. “American Bandstand” was truly an inspiration, since it gave parents and children the opportunity to sit around the television, and just have a good time listening to pure rock and roll. Clark used his charm and good looks to bring rock and roll to a huge audience, and showed people that music can bring people of any background together.
Clark really helped a lot of musicians gather a following of fans, and helped legitimize some of the most iconic singers of all time. Clark helped Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, and so many other artists become popular with many generations of fans. Clark basically was the man that created rock and roll in America, and every artist of today is a product of that, especially popular music artists. Clark helped break the barrier between black and white artists, and was able to open up the minds of his audience by introducing them to different cultures. What I really enjoyed about Clark was his love of music, because you could tell he enjoyed what he was doing, and really believed music had an important role in everyday life.
Clark also was a host of the “$10,000 Pyramid”, which was one of the biggest game shows ever created. Clark began hosting “$10,000 Pyramid” in 1973, and he really was a hoot as the host, often coming up with quirky comments to entertain the audience. I remember when I was little, I would watch this with my aunt and grandparents, and really enjoyed the simple concept of the game. The game shows of today are nothing compared to “$10,000 Pyramid” because that word association game was just so innovative and fresh. Not to mention, Clark won three Emmy Awards for the best game show host, which just shows how effective he was at creating and marketing a product.