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Monday, September 10, 2007

Can someone explain this to me?

OK, I'll get to the music downloading stuff in a bit. I've been transferring videos to DVD for the wife and I'm in the middle of an American Bandstand marathon. Whoo hoo.

Now, AB is kind of fun to watch, at least when everyone is dancing. The "performances" are some of the most low budget lip syncs one could hope to see. (Side note: there was a great John Cougar bit from '80 where his band is clearly taking the piss on the lip syncing. The keyboard player has an accordion, the bassist is playing a doghouse like an electric and the drummer grabs a girl and starts dancing in the middle of a song.)

The thing I don't get about AB is how in the world did Dick Clark endure as a host/cultural icon? The guy really doesn't show much personality or excitement, his interview skills are kind of weak and he really seems to be suppressing bewilderment at a lot of the music featured on the show. (Though to be fair, how in the heck did Loverboy become huge? Seriously, inquiring minds want to know.)

Right now, I'm watching Clark in a cream leisure suit, collar to the shoulders, introducing John Travolta. He's sitting in the middle of a bunch of kids who look young enough to be his kids maybe. Even with the sound off, it just looks awkward, probably more so without the sound.

The only thing I can figure is young Dick Clark made some very smart financial decisions (and possibly some powerful friends, if one believes the theories as to why he never got nabbed in the payola scandals of the '50s.) His "world's oldest teenager" bit had much more to do with vertical integration from the companies Clark owns than it did any real "finger on the pulse" ability on his part.

Don't get me wrong. I totally understand the importance of Bandstand, at least up to the time MTV really started rolling. The concept behind the show may not have been original, but if the decision to take it national was Clark's, he's a genius for that alone. I'm not trying to deny AB as a show or whatever. It's just Dick Clark strikes me a lot more Pat Boone than Elvis Presley and after about six hours of non-stop AB action, you kind of realize, hey, Dick Clark is kind of bland.

PS- did Dick Clark own a piece of the Spinners? I swear, they are on EVERY episode of this show I have on tape, regardless of if they are even culturally relevant or not.

Now playing: The Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - D Brown
via FoxyTunes

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