“American Bandstand” first hit television screens in 1952, simply referred to as “Bandstand.” Dick Clark would take over hosting duties in 1956 and on August 5, 1957, ABC would broadcast the show nationally for the first time, helping the program achieve monumental success.
Bringing the radio format of a live disk jockey spinning records to television was immensely popular and attracted many artists to perform on the show, though they typically lip-synched to their own record. Nonetheless, Dick Clark brought the audience what they desired. Whether it be the yet-to-be crowned King of Pop or the Lizard King himself, “American Bandstand” delivered many memorable performances.
Jerry Lee Lewis appeared on “American Bandstand” three separate times in 1957; August 19th, October 10th and on November 4th when he sang “Great Balls of Fire” after being introduced by the head of his own fan club.
Had it not been for “American Bandstand,” rock bands like the Doors may have never found their way into the homes of America’s youth. The Los Angeles based psychedelic rockers were introduced to the masses in 1967 with a performance of “Light My Fire,” witnessing the beginning of the rise of Morrison‘s mojo.
Before he was the King of Pop, Michael Jackson was the fresh faced singer from the Jackson 5. But in 1971 he broke out on his own to perform “Rockin’ Robin” on “American Bandstand.”
For every King, there must be a Queen. The same goes for pop music. Before taking the crown as the Queen of Pop, Madonna made an appearance on “American Bandstand” to perform her hit “Holiday.” After her performance, Clark asked what she hoped to achieve for the remainder of her career. Madonna quietly responded, “To rule the world.”
America’s oldest teenager knew exactly what the kids wanted: music to dance to. In 1962, Clark invited the then unknown Chubby Checker onto “American Bandstand” to perform “The Twist.” A new dance craze was launched and would spread across the country like wildfire.
Those are just some of the memorable moments delivered to us from Dick Clark and “American Bandstand.” What is your favorite? Share them in the comments section below!
E.J. Judge, WCBSFM New York