I’d love to reminisce with respect and share in the honor and memory of one of our greatest iconic television personalities ever to come along – Dick Clark.
Dick touched more of our lives than Ed Sullivan, Mike Douglas, Dick Cavett and even Johnny Carson. He will be missed most of all by his immediate family and close circle of friends, but he will be most talked about by the thousands of recording legends he helped spark on their journey to international stardom.
Such pioneering radio/TV personalities as Allen Freed and Dick dared to push the envelope by gently breaking down racial barriers that had kept us separated socially. At the same time they integrated not only the music but the dancers who were there in the studio to give us that dance-hall/concert atmosphere.
His show transformed the mindset of the masses traditionally to accept one another in a more humane way – a wholesome, entertaining way that presented the ideal opportunity for mixing and getting to know your peers from a personal perspective, rather than from the perspective of someone else wished things to remain the same for selfish reasons and gains.
Dick Clark was more than just a TV personality. To me, personally, he was like a messiah of sorts in the early days of rock ’n’ roll and pop music, especially for the aspiring black recording artists.
It was the norm for aspiring white recording artists on the rise to actually steal songs that were recorded or were being recorded by blacks and instead take the credit for that particular song. Dick Clark was the very first entertainment producer to regulate and correct that dark side of the business.
Such foul practices were the norm back in the day, and white record producers thought nothing of practices that actually robbed hundreds of black artists of their copyrights and authorship of many hit songs.
My former group, The Platters’, very first song, “Only You” was a victim of such thievery. But the group who tried to steal the song was six months too late with their recorded version.
So instead of crying for Dick, be glorious and happy of the transformation he ushered in that resulted in all of us being slightly better off had he not come our way.
God bless you, Dick, I know they’re waiting to greet you with warm open arms up there, and by the way, tell ’em for me to save a spot for a first tenor.