America's oldest teenager and music and entertainment icon Dick Clark who gave a whole new meaning to what it meant to bring in the New Year sadly passed away today at the age of 82.
"Music is the soundtrack of my life," Clark once famously said.
Not only did Clark reshape the way people enjoyed music on television for thousands of teenagers nationwide on his long-running show "American Bandstand" which aired from 1956 until it went off the air in 1989, but he truly rocked the musical landscape of American culture by showcasing unknown Black artists to primetime television. He was also did the unthinkable by showcasing black and white teenagers dancing together.
In the words of Aretha Franklin, also known as the Queen of Soul, "You didn't really make it until you appeared on American Bandstand."
Quincy Jones, one of the greatest Black music producing icons said today
"Rest in Peace my good friend Dick Clark. A pioneer who's mark on American culture will be felt forever."
Clark condemned any censorship of songs and artists and insisted that Black Artists sing their own songs, rather than allow white performers to sing their cover songs.
Other African American artists Clark showcased on American Bandstand include Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Percy Sledge, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Sam Cooke, The Platters, The Jackson Five, Jackie Wilson, Chubby Checker, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Prince, LL Cool J, Run DMC and many others.
"There's hardly any segment of the population that doesn't see what I do," Clark told the Associated Press in 1985.
The airing and sight of Black and White kids being seen together helped to influence the production of "Soul Train" that appealed to an interracial audience whose host was Don Cornelius who was sometimes referred to as "The Black Dick Clark."
"Dick Clark changed the face of musical television. He was wonderful to many artists including our family. We will miss him. God Bless," Janet Jackson said today.
Smokey Robinson said, "I loved Dick Clark. He was instrumental in my career as well as the other Motown acts and so many others in the recording business. Good bye my friend, rest in peace."
Clark also introduced countless non-white legends to the music world including Jerrry Lee Lewis, Fabian, Connie Francis, Bill Haley, The Osmonds, Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Cash, the Doors, Pink Floyd, Cher, Devo, INXS, Bon Jovi, Madonna, The Talking Heads and hundreds of others.
He eventually became a Hollywood Powerhouse and started Dick Clark Productions in 1963 and produced shows such as New Years Rockin' Eve, the American Music Awards, TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, $25,000 Pyramid. Altogether he was responsible for more than 30 series and 250 specials, 20 movies for theater and TV and more than 7,500 hours of television programming.
Other sentiments by artists and others who knew Dick Clark
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life."
"The industry lost a legend today, but I feel like I've lost a very close friend. Dick was a mentor to me," Donny Osmond
"You'll continue to be an inspiration to us all Dick Clark. Thanks for the amazing rockin years you were with us. You'll truly be missed." The Jonas Brothers.
"I considered Dick to be my dearest friend in this business, a friendship that has endured since 1958. He was there for every crisis of my life and there were many. Without Dick Clark there would have been no career because I was ready to abandon it. Dick was the most principled man I ever met in this business and treated everyone the same way, even if you were the little guy." Connie Francis.
"Times Square is considered the crossroads of the world in no small part because Dick Clark's New Year's Eve celebrations there were beamed across the globe. I remember one New Year's Eve, he and I stood in Times Square marveling about how much the area - and the City - had improved over the years. But Dick Clark never had to change - he was a great entertainer who stood the test of time. Generations of Americans grew up with Dick, and yet he seemed forever young. His spirit will always live on in Times Square, and in hearts of millions of New Yorkers." - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"Very sad to hear about Dick Clark. What a great life. What a great career. Relevant until the end. He will be missed!" Joan Rivers.
"Dick Clark will be truly missed. We will carry on his legacy every New Year's Eve."Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas.
"Very saddened about the loss of Dick Clark. We hosted the very first Rockin' New Year's Eve; truly honored to have worked with him." Three Dog Night.
"I just always considered Dick a wonderful friend. He was always good and supportive of me, but every other musical performer I know of would say the same thing. I am just stunned because for my whole career Dick Clark has been a friend and sort of an anchor of all things musical. Careers grew because of Dick Clark. He is going to be sorely missed." Pat Boone.
"Dick Clark was a great friend, true legend, & a master journalist. Nobody did what he did better. It was a pleasure to be in his company." Larry King.
"Just heard the news of Dick Clark. It was truly an honor to have worked with him, learn from him and to be able to call him a friend. He was a great man and an even better friend. The word legend is thrown around a lot, but it's never more appropriate than when used in describing Mr. Clark. He was a real inspiration & influence in my life. I will dearly miss my friend. Rest well DC.." Mario Lopez.
"REST IN PEACE to the DICK CLARK!! U were pioneer n a good man!! Thank u sir." Snoop Dogg.
"Dick Clark was such an institution and inspiration. Not ashamed to say I loved American bandstand when I was a kid!" Katie Couric.
"Back in the 1960's the pop culture catch-phrase was `Never trust anyone over 30.' Dick Clark was trustworthy all the way home. Rock on Sir!"Ann Wilson of Heart.
"Not 2 many people actually deserve the term "legend", Dick Clark embodied it & never lost his humility or humanity. We will miss him!" Gloria Estefan.
"With the passing of Dick Clark, we lost a real hero who had untold influence on both world culture and the art form we call rock and roll. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Clark was a trendsetter who helped guide our tastes in music, dance and fashion for more than three decades. His show American Bandstand was instrumental in showing the world that rock and roll was here to stay." Terry Stewart, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
"Dick Clark was an entertainment icon, bringing music into the homes of millions of Americans over his nearly 60-year career. His shows `American Bandstand' and `Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve' blazed new trails in pop music and became pivotal celebrations of music on television, spotlighting both established and emerging artists. Our deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, friends, fans, and all who have enjoyed his great contributions to music and entertainment. He will be terribly missed, and his legacy will live on forever." Neil Portnow, President and CEO of the Recording Academy.