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Spotlight on The Dave Clark Five

Dave Clark Five

Just today (February 29, 2008) I was still pondering on who to feature for this coming month's Spotlight Artist when I heard that  lead singer Mike Smith (far left in above photo) of the Dave Clark Five died February 28, 2008.  March 10, 208, the Dave Clark Five is scheduled to be inducted into the Rock ' N Roll Hall of Fame which Mike and the others were so fondly looking forward to.  After getting the word of his death then there was no other choice but to recognize this outstanding group from Great Britain. 

Although the group was named after him, Dave Clark was the drummer; lead vocals were provided by Mike Smith who also played the keyboards. The rest of the band was Lenny Davidson on lead guitar, Rick Huxley on bass guitar, and Denny Payton on saxophone, harmonica and guitar. Songwriting credits went to Clark, Clark and Smith, Clark and Davidson, and Clark and Payton. Some early songs were also credited to Clark and Ron Ryan, who was the brother of early group member Mick Ryan.

Originating in North London, the band was promoted as the vanguard of the 'Tottenham Sound', a response to the Mersey Beat stable managed by Brian Epstein. They had a series of memorable hits, including "Glad All Over" that in January 1964 knocked the Beatles out of the number one position on the UK Singles Chart.

Dave Clark 5 & Ed Sullivan

The Dave Clark Five placed 17 records in Billboard's Top 40 to go with 12 Top 40 United Kingdom hits between 1964 and 1967. Their song "Over And Over" went to number one in the U.S. on the Billboard Charts Hot 100 at the end of December 1965 (despite less than impressive sales in the UK), and they played to sell-out crowds on their tours of the U.S. Heavily promoted as having a "cleaner" image than the Beatles, theDave Clark Five holds the distinction of having made 14 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, more than any other UK group..

Unusual for a group of that (or any) era, the leader was the drummer Dave Clark who would play with his drums positioned at the front of the stage, relegating the guitarists and keyboard to his rear and sides. The group was unique in the British Invasion because it was not an exclusively guitar-based sound. The beat was prominent and the DC5 was one of the few groups of the era to feature a saxophone. Smith's growling, blues-tinged vocals were in the lead on almost all of the hit singles.

After the success of the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night in 1964, the DC5 released their own film Catch Us If You Can (directed by John Boorman) in 1965; the film, which also starred Barbara Ferris, was released in the United States as Having a Wild Weekend.

The song "Bits and Pieces" was sometimes banned from being played at their live concerts, as fans would jump up and down in time to the song's stomping beat, and promoters feared this would damage the dance hall floors.

In spite of their huge success for a period, bolstered by the movie and a television special, the major hits dried up after 1967's "You Got What It Takes". TheDC5's efforts to embrace the prevailing trend of psychedelia were not successful. They disbanded in 1970, having placed a further three singles on the UK chart that year.

In the voting leading up to the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, the band, which according to sources received the fifth most votes and thus was eligible for induction, were allegedly denied election by Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner in order to allow the induction of Grandmaster Flash because no rap group was inducted into the hall. Bobby Graham, a well-known British session drummer in the 1960s, claimed in 2004 that he, rather than Clark, played on all of the group's hit records [2]. However, Ron Ryan, in a 2006 interview, insisted that Clark definitely played drums on all the recordings, except on the rare occasion when he could not produce and play at the same time. However, Ryan was not associated with the group when it was recording its biggest hits from 1964-67 and has no firsthand knowledge of the recording process on those tracks.

The Dave Clark Five made the list of nominees for the class of 2008, and on 13 December 2007, it was announced that the band would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 10 March 2008. The group will be inducted by Tom Hanks, who wrote, directed, and starred in the film That Thing You Do!, which was about an American one-hit wonder band that became popular in the wake of the British Invasion.

                    The Dave Clark FiveDave Clark Five


U.S. Released Albums

Glad All Over #4 1964
The Dave Clark Five Return! #6 1964
American Tour #5 1965
Coast to Coast #6 1965
Weekend in London #12 1965 

Having a Wild Weekend #13 1965
I Like It Like That #22 1965
The Dave Clark Fives' Greatest Hits #9 1966
Try Too Hard #24 1966
Satisfied With You #28 1966
More Greatest Hits #31 1967
Five By Five #40 1967
You Got What It Takes #56 1967
Everybody Knows #70 1968
If Somebody Loves You - 1969
Good Old Rock n' Roll - 1970
Dave Clark and Friends - 1972
25 Thumping Greats! - 1978
Glad All Over Again - 1993

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