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Dick Clark and American Bandstand

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  • Category: America

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American Bandstand was a television Program that was shown in different versions from nineteen fifty two (1952) to nineteen eighty nine. (1989). Dick Clark was the final host of the show he hosted the show from nineteen fifty seven until the end. Dick Clark was also the producer of the show. In the show were teenagers who were dancing to music of top forty types which were being introduced by Dick Clark. Many popular artists like Jerry Lewis, Madonna and many others appeared and performed live shows.

Formation of Bandstand

It featured locally as a live show on a television (WFIL TV) in Philadelphia in 7th Oct. in 1952 it was aired in Studio C. Bob Horn hosted the show with the help of Stewart Lee. During this time the show was produced by Mammerella Tom and was being directed by Ed Yates. During this time Horn used to host musical performance from official films and Snader. This was later changed and the show started having a format whereby the kids were dancing to the hit music. This change was borrowed from Philadelphia radio show. (Club 1950) which was being co hosted with Ed – Hurst and Joe Grady.

Horn was fired on 9th July 1956 after being arrested for driving when drunk. Mammerella Tony, who was the producer of the show, replaced Horn temporarily before Clark Dick took the job of hosting the show permanently. The entrance of Clark in the show increased the number of people in the show this increased the popularity of the show.

ABC television station had a vacancy at 3:30 pm, they requested O and O and their partners to come up with suggestions of programs that can fill that time (3:30pm) slot. ABC was finally convinced by Dick Clark to let Bandstand to take that vacancy.  The show was picked up nationally and it became American Bandstand. Bandstand was broadcasted live on week days at afternoons. After one month American Bandstand became a hit for ABC which was struggling. ABC was not able to afford those programs which adults like. This made CBS and NBC to have many adult viewers. ABC introduced programs such as Mickey Mouse even though most of ABC viewers were loyal to American Bandstand.  At the start of 1963 the week day’s shows were videotaped the next Saturday. With the introduction of Video tape technology, American Bandstand started recording the shows on week days. This made David Clark to tour around the country with many popular singers.         Clark managed to lure the interest of other broadcasters. Towards the end of 1963 American Bandstand started showing in afternoon until 1989. (Dick.etal1985 page 21 – 33)

The popularity of the show made Clark to be an American mogul. The program also inspired other programs like top of the pops and soul train. Clark started Dick Clark Production Company and took over the ownership of the program.

The theme of the Bandstand music:

Bandstand used a song known as High Society which was sung by Artie show as their theme song. This song was replaced by several Bandstands, others by the time that the show became national. Charles Albertine is the one who used to compose the Baggie Bogie for Bandstands; this included that version of the big band which was done by Les Elgart. Mike Curb also came up with instrumental version of synch which was also used as the theme of the Bandstand between 1969 and 1974. From 1974 to 1978 Bandstand used Bandstand boogie orchestral disco video version. This was used during the closing and opening of the credit. At this time Joe Porter was the person who used to arrange and perform the orchestral disco version that was used by the bandstand as their theme song.

Barry Manilow’s theme was used between 1977 until the time that ABC went off air (1987). The song titled “Trying to get the feeling” was collaboration between Manilow and Bruce Howard. The song was a reference to the Bandstand series. Updated instrumental arrangement is the one which replaced the Manilow version.

In 1974 up to the time that the program was taken off air it featured Billy Preston instrumental version of Space race during the mid show break of the program. (Dick.etal1976)

Bandstand changes

The earliest version of the program which was being aired between 7:30 and 8:30 pm in 1957 was poorly rated. This was due to the fact that the house wives and teenagers who were the core audience of the Bandstand program were mostly busy during this time. This made the program to change its time to Saturday before finally settling for week days (after noon).

Another change which occurred was the change of production center. Production center moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles at ABC Television center. (1964).

The program was also recorded in video tapes using colored system the schedule of the production was involved shooting three videos on Saturdays, and another three every Sunday. Stage 55 and stage 54 in ABC were the ones where the shows were usually produced. In 1987 Bandstand changed and moved to ABC to syndication. With David Hirsch as the host they joined USA network in 1989. The shot was also shot out doors at Hollywood in a place called Universal studios. During this time Dick Clark remained as the executive producer. In1989 Bandstand show came to an end in Hollywood. The show started recording live at Harrah’s club and in a Casino at Reno Nevada it continued to air locally up to 1997.

Dick Clark tried to revive the show in 2004 so that it was to be aired in 2005, but this never materializes. The only segment that was revived was a national dancing competition that was known as “So you think you can dance” this segment is produced by Dick Clark together with Allen Shapiro.

The significant of Dick Clark

Dick Clark made many people in America to like rock and roll. Many carriers of the earlier rock and roll artist were promoted by Dick Clark through this program.

Dick Clark managed to bring many artists to the show; this helped the artist because it increased their sales and boosted the chances of their music performing better on many music shows.

Dick Clark also made rock n roll music to become popular particular with the youth.

How Bandstand changed the music industry.

The impact of Bandstand was felt both socially and culturally in the music industry. These were: it solidified the youth culture growth which was based on the bandstand.  With Clark coming in, he insisted on integrating all the races in the show, given that most of Clark music was done by the blacks. Despite acquiring the national status schedule it never did away with racial integration, this gave the American music industry the image of ethnic and racial diversity. (Robert. 2000)

The show made a lot of the youth to like music. Because the show was so popular amongst the youth a fact that made the youth to like it further.  (Robert. 2000)

It made the White American youth of middle class to shift away from rock and roll music which was popular amongst them at that time to Psychedelia from Vietnam. Psychedelia was a type of dance which originated from Vietnam and it was mostly involved with drug addicts or those people who were taking drugs.  (Robert. 2000)

To respond to the diversified taste of their target audience the formats of radio started to fragment. The style of the music was the focus of the show. This made Music to be classified into distinct categories. (Robert. 2000)

It helped greatly to the formation of Video Channels that were dealing with music. This is because many music video channels used it a prototype.

The popularity of the rock n roll music also increased in America particularly amongst the Youth.


Dick C., Shore.  R. & Michael. S, 1985 “America Bandstand History” New York, Ballantine press page 21-33.

Dick, .C. &Richard.R.1976, “New York: remember Rock n Roll” retrieved from music blog.com

Robert. G. 2000, “The role of Dick Clark in Rock n Roll” retrieved from museum of US music.com on 26th November 2008

Rodney. B. 1999, “American Bandstand” retrieved from cnn.com on 26th November 2008

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