Thursday, April 19, 2012

The 13 Most Incongruous American Bandstand Appearances

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Dick Clark, "the world's oldest teenager," who died yesterday, built an enduring business and media persona through his perpetual immersion in youth culture. American Bandstand, his flagship, was on the air from sockhops up through 1989—through, that is, the rise of a dominant youth culture, the splintering of genres, and the formation of a viable independent underground in the 1980s. Which means that, as much as a sinkhole of Boomer solipsism (which, by filming regular kids dancing, Clark helped invent), American Bandstand was an enduring study in the limits of the American music industry's adaptability. And it's that outer limit where all the really retrospectively fascinating and amusing stuff happens, as we hope to demonstrate with this clip show. (Thanks to Josh Kurp, who found about half of these.)

Captain Beefheart, 1965

Though American Bandstand moved from Philadelphia from LA, from regional to national TV, and from weekday afternoons to Saturdays, the its guest list from the late 50s to the early-to-mid 60s smoothly traced an arc familiar to any listener of oldies radio: from crooners to teen idols, with the occasional Sam Cooke or Jerry Lee Lewis mixed in, up through tame British Invasion knock-offs watering down r&b even further. Still, like many a cult icon, Don Van Vliet made an early appearance in the Top 40. Here, Cathy, aged 17, asks him a few questions about the name of the band, and then Dick plays Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's debut single, "Diddy Wah Diddy," and everyone dances. Cathy stays on the line with Don during the song, presumably so the police can trace the call (he sounds like the Zodiac Killer).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

More by Mark Asch

  • The Counterlife: Listen Up Philip

    Young Brooklyn filmmaker Alex Ross Perry's bracing, mature third feature is about literature, life, and the moments when they at least threaten to intersect.
    • Oct 8, 2014
  • Boom and Bust: The Overnighters

    A documentary about the impact of the fracking boom in North Dakota gets more personal than it bargained for.
    • Oct 8, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 4 Art Exhibits You Need to See

    In which Francesco Clemente appears with Nas and Patti Smith, and in which certain picks are prefaced by anti-picks.
    • Oct 9, 2014
  • The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week

    Brando does Shakespeare, Hou does history, Capra does populism and Georgian cinema re-does Stalin.
    • Oct 8, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared Stories

Top Viewed Stories

Top Topics in The Measure

Film (15)

Art (5)

Music (4)

© 2014 The L Magazine
Website powered by Foundation