Photo Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for DCPNYE
It's a sad week for music and television lovers as the world mourns the death of Dick Clark, who passed away April 18 after suffering a massive heart attack. The American Bandstand host became known for introducing rock and roll to TV audiences in the 1950s and '60s, and he was still bringing music into American homes right up through his final New Year's Rockin' Eve. Here are five reasons why we're sad he won't be around anymore.
1. Because he knew what we loved before we did.
From the very beginning of his TV career, Clark had an uncanny knack for finding future musical superstars. Among the many musicians who made their TV debut on American Bandstand: Madonna, The Jackson 5, The Beastie Boys, Prince, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Paul Simon, Buddy Holly, Neil Diamond, The Doors, Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart and Tina Turner.
2. Because the years changed, but he didn't.
Dick Clark's never-aging appearance was the target of countless jokes during his lifetime. Yet there was something comforting about turning on the TV every Dec. 31, knowing that Clark would look pretty much the same as he always did! New Year's Rockin' Eve premiered in 1972, giving at-home viewers a chance to join the party without leaving the comfort of their homes. Al Green and Helen Reddy performed on Clark's first New Year's Eve show; Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, LMFAO and Justin Bieber performed on his last (hosted by his successor Ryan Seacrest).
3. Because we love awards shows.
Clark created the American Music Awards in 1972, with the intention of creating an alternative to the Grammys. Not only are the AMAs still going strong, but Dick Clark Productions now produces the Emmy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Academy of Country Music Awards. Without Dick Clark, we'd hate to think how much red carpet fashion we'd be missing out on.
4. Because we wouldn't have some of our favorite TV shows (or movies) without him.
"I played records, the kids danced, and America watched," was how Clark once described American Bandstand. But his show was more than that: It was a hip dance competition, a place to count down the day's hits, and a stage where up-and-coming musicians could boost their fame. Countless shows that came after -- from Soul Train to Total Request Live, American Idol to Dancing With the Stars -- owe a debt to Clark. Plus, without American Bandstand, we wouldn't have Grease or Hairspray -- since both films use a Bandstand-like dance competition as a major plot point.
5. Because he recognized that good music comes in all colors.
When Clark invited the now-legendary soul singer Sam Cooke to perform during a live taping of American Bandstand in Atlanta, the National Guard had to be called in to handle threats from the Klu Klux Klan. The show would go down in history as one of the first integrated rock concerts, and Clark continued to embrace diverse acts -- including early rapper Kurtis Blow in 1985.
And, of course, it goes without saying that New Year's Eve will never again be quite so rockin'.