The Archive is sad to report the death of beloved producer/host Dick Clark. Clark passed away today at the age of 82 from a heart attack. Best known for hosting American Bandstand and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Clark also hosted $10,000 Pyramid, and produced the American Music Awards and several television movies.
Here are some selections from Clark’s 1999 Archive interview:
On his on-air radio personality:
That started in radio and I learned it from Godfrey. Just be yourself. I’m of English heritage, the English are not known for a great sense of humor. Second only to the Germans, maybe. They don’t come by it natural. So all I could do was be myself. I did pretty well doing that.
On the music on American Bandstand:
I was raised on jazz, a little bit of rhythm and blues and mostly big band, so a lot of it was very unfamiliar to me. The day I walked in, “Stranded in the Jungle,” by the Jayhawks was number one on our Top Ten. I said, “strange,” so I did a quick education of what it was, and I soon realized it wasn’t alien to me because I loved rhythm and blues. I was a Country Music disc jockey ten years before that, so I knew country and this was an amalgamation of those two, so it was a fast learn. In those days you learned by the seat of your pants. We didn’t have any surveys, we didn’t have any electronic media to speak of. We talked on the phone to fellow disc jockeys, that’s how we determined what was hot.
On the genesis of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve:
Fittingly, here’s what he had to say about his legacy:
The nicest thing that has happened to me in the last probably ten years, people of all ages… say “thank you very much for being part of my life,” or “I grew up with you,” or “thank you for all the good times.” If that was my legacy, that’s pretty good. I touched a lot of people. Only rarely have we gotten them to change their thoughts politically, or morally, or uplifted them, but I took them away. I let them escape and that’s pretty good.
New Year’s Eve won’t be the same without you, Dick.
Watch Dick Clark’s Full Archive Interview.