A man of music, entertainment host Dick Clark (1929-2012), "America's oldest teenager," helped celebrate Rock and Roll and American culture for over 50 years.
On this day in 1957, Clark's popular television show, American Bandstand, aired its first national broadcast on ABC. The first song that rocked the show was Jerry Lee Lewis' classic hit Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On.
As the longest-running musical show in television history (1957-1989), American Bandstand showcased the talents of Chuck Berry, Ricky Nelson, Chubby Checker, and many others, giving artists a chance to showcase their talents nationally.
"Success in pop music is like being let into a bank vault with a shovel and you don't know how long you've got so you shovel like mad," Clark once said.
American Bandstand's success was a combination of Clark's boyish charm, the show's ability to adapt to shifts in music trends, and the inclusion of dancers from two high schools, West Catholic and South Philadelphia.
"It's one of the pioneer programs on TV," Clark told USA Today. "What happened with this show could never happen again." Clark, a shrewd businessman, made millions with his company Dick Clark Productions. His New Year's Eve celebration from Times Square, started in 1972, has become an annual tradtion.
Born Richard Wagstaff Clark and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, Clark had a marketing degree and according to writer Fred Bronson, "an uncanny ability to speak to teenagers."
Clark said hosting American Bandstand "was one of the great experiences of my life... It kept me in constant touch with people younger than I. That's good for your head, it helps to keep you young, and keeps you invigorated... I miss it. I know I can't do it again, but they were great days."
Music exalts each joy.