Usually it is closer to New Year’s Eve when I think about the legendary Dick Clark, who famously hosted that December 31st event on national television from 1975 until 2004. However, it is another popular show he hosted that has caused me to remember Dick Clark a little earlier in the season this year.
The country first became acquainted with Clark because of a weekly show called American Bandstand, which featured popular music acts of the time. Famous artists such as Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, David Bowie and Cher all made appearances on throughout the three decade run of the show.
Although it has been nearly forgotten, the show has just recently gained overdue attention because of a new video released by a prominent figure in the world of rock music. Former front man of the Smiths, Morrissey, pays homage to American Bandstand in his new video for “Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On the Stage.” The song, which is the first single from Low In High School, is performed on a set much like that of American Bandstand with Morrissey doing a nostalgic dance while others sway behind him.
In honor of the new Morrissey video, here are fifteen of the best artists to perform on the popular series that ran from 1956-1987.
The Brady Bunch Kids
Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen took their act from the classic sitcom onto the set of Bandstand in 1972.
In a 1967 episode “For What It’s Worth” was the appropriate choice for the band, which featured Stephen Stills and Neil Young.
A future partner of Stills and Young played on the show in 1967 with his first successful band, which did their hit “Eight Miles High.”
Once dubbed the British Bob Dylan, Donovan performed “Catch the Wind” in an episode from 1965.
Electric Light Orchestra
In America’s bicentennial year these British art rockers appeared on the set to do “Evil Woman” from the Face the Music album.
Instead of selecting his biggest hit, Jackson chose the slow-paced “It’s Different For Girls” for his contribution to a 1979 airing.
Gene Simmons and his masked mates played their big hit “Rock and Roll All Nite” for Clark in 1978.
At the height of popularity because of their TV series, the quartet sang “I’m a Believer” in 1966.
A great promo for the 1972 show would have been “American Pie” on American Grandstand.
The fact that Syd Barrett was leading the band is a clear indication that their appearance had to be in the early years, when they played “Apples and Oranges” in 1967.
“My Old School” was brand new in 1973, when Donald Fagen and Walter Becker performed it with their jazz rock group.
David Byrne and his band took “Take Me To the River” to the stage of American Bandstand in 1979.
They must have been tempted to play their biggest hit, but Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook instead chose “I Can’t Hold On” and “I’ve Returned” from their latest album Sweets from a Stranger in 1982.
Weird Al Yankovic
The satirical accordionist performed “Like a Surgeon” in a 1985 airing of Clark’s show.
B. B. King
Lucille of course was in his arms when the blues king played “The Thrill Is Gone” for the American Bandstand ausience in 1972.