Dick Clark – 20 Years of Rock n’ Roll (Buddah 0798) (1973)

VOL. 4 OF THE THRIFTY VINYL ARCHIVE SERIES“In the 1950’s people used to ask me, ‘How long can Rock last–‘ In the 1970’s Rock rolls on….” Dick Clark

So said the self-styled world’s oldest living teen-ager (now deceased) and erstwhile host of long-running music show American Bandstand on the back sleeve of this superb double album compilation.  20 Years of Rock n’ Roll‘s simple, but effective concept is to cherry-pick one or two stone classics from each year (from ’52 to ’72) and present them chronologically. There’s no Chuck/Beatles/Stones/Motown/ Elvis/Stooges, nor is this a Nuggest-style specialist excavation; this is a populist, US AM radio-friendly set featuring representative examples of the Rock style during the genre’s first two decades. See the track list for yourselves here if you don’t believe me.

20 Years formed the backbone of my record collection at a time when the music library was in single digits, only accumulated at a rate of one or two albums every 12 months and I was too young to know what “Electronically Reproduced For Stereo” meant. Music choice was not so freely available back in the day to tyrannize and overwhelm, so this album was a handy, perfectly-judged godsend; truly, a happy education.

I still like every single song here and listen to the record every couple of years. Thanks, Dick.

Also included in the package (which I thrifted from Mount Vernon, Ohio’s Goodwill store over three and a half decades ago for 50 cents), is a 12cm x 12cm cardboard flexi-disc of Dick’s “off-the-cuff” showbizzy reminiscences called “Inside Stories”. As if. It is, unsurprisingly, too cheesy by half and there’s something unsettling about the hole in the middle of Clark’s forehead.

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Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 8:08 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. dick clark may well have been a legend and household name in american culture, but for some reason his fame and reputation never really reached the british isles, only becoming known as a distant figure to students of the history of popular music such as myself – i was trying to think who would be the nearest british equivalent, and all that comes to mind is jimmy savile…

    so anyway, when i watched the classic leslie neilson comedy series “police squad!” (which as you probably know was the unsuccessful forerunner to “the naked gun” films) for the first time in the early 80’s, i was probably one of the few people in this country who knew who the guy that was bribing johnny the shoe-shine snitch for the word from the street on “ska” was! (a classic sketch – i love it when he asks johnny for some of that “youth cream” and then furtively smears it in his face!)

  2. Dick Clark, as the embodiment of the clean cut All-american Boy, was far less eccentric than Sir Jim, who, in his own way embodies a certain Englishness. With his institutional toothsome blandness, Dick is more comparable to Sir Cliff Richard (less the overt Christianity).

    He managed to avoid serious harm from the 50s rock ‘n’ roll payola scandle (which did for the more genuinely rock ‘n’ roll promoter Alan Freed) by snitching and washing his hands–for which he’s earned my father’s distain. I remember Clark more for hosting the $20,000 Pyramid in the 70s and is the titular compere of American’s go-to December 31st family televisual treat, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.


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