Most of the Saturday mornings of my pre-teen/teenage years were spent watching Dick Clark and "American Bandstand". Clark might've been the "white bread" version of music compared to Don Cornelius of "Soul Train, but Clark loved music, possibly more than I did. Every week he enthusiastically introduced me to new music, bringing interesting and sometimes um...odd looking musicians into my living room. (If you never saw "Paul Revere and the Raiders", you should Google them for a good laugh). I can still remember my Dad stopping long enough to watch a teenager named Michael Jackson perform, then utter in thoughtful amazement, "That kid's got talent!" High praise considering most parents probably would've kept on walking to get away from " that noise the kids listen to these days."
Dick Clark died on Wednesday, at the age of 82. As soon as I heard, a line from Don McLean's "American Pie" whispered through my head..."the day, the music died."
Clark expanded my musical horizons, never talked down to my generation or the ones which followed and NEVER lost his sense of awe over music in general. Although it became difficult watching his New Year's Eve specials, the effects of a stroke 4 years ago slurring his speech, just the fact he kept showing up was life affirming somehow. If we were home on New Year's eve, we always counted down the year's end with Clark, who managed to convey that the NEW year would be a magical experience somehow.
Everyone teased that Dick Clark never seemed to age. I bet St. Pete says the same thing when Clark shows up to Rock 'n Roll Heaven.
RIP Dick Clark. You made being a teenager interesting, offering a good beat that helped me dance through the rougher patches of youth.