Even “America’s Oldest Teenager” can’t hold onto eternal youth forever. This became starkly obvious when Dick Clark, who was dubbed that nickname for his long-withstanding youthful disposition, died at 82 yesterday, leaving many young’uns on the Twittersphere to question who he was. Despite having been a major architect of rock ‘n’ roll music for over half a century, his appeal to the baby boomers failed to carry as much weight with my generation. But I, unlike much of Generation Y, have an old person’s taste in everything so I just wanted to say RIP, Dick Clark. We'll miss you.
Clark was a television personality, entrepreneur, radio host, and many other things, but I think his greatest gift was making people feel excited about music. He was a host for shows such as Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but more importantly he was a longtime host of American Bandstand, which is what I know Dick Clark by best. I must admit, I discovered the show some time ago when I was YouTubing live recordings of old pop groups, like ABBA (HAHA it’s so cheesy but I love this shit):
Through American Bandstand I also realized how endearingly awkward the Beach Boys were. Being someone who regularly interviews bands, I envy Clark’s ability to be so naturally charismatic – even when surrounded by five gawky dudes in matching pinstripe shirts. I can’t stop smiling and squirming throughout this video:
Beyond his professional titles, Dick Clark was a legend to the legends, an advocate of artistic liberty, and a rebel to censorship and social injustices. Even though he started hosting Bandstand in the 50s – a time when racial segregation was still very much present in the United States – he supported black artists, giving them a platform to dance and play their recordings. Mad respect. Three decades later, still host of the show, he brought on Run DMC to his stage, without so much losing an ounce of his youthful vigor. You can hardly tell this interview and the Beach Boys one are 30 years apart:
I was too young to really know Dick Clark in his prime, but even watching his stuff now makes me really, really happy, like I can have faith in music. In response to Clark’s death, President Obama said, “More important than his groundbreaking achievements was the way he made us feel — as young and vibrant and optimistic as he was.” I agree, which is why I think it’s more appropriate to look on the bright side rather than to linger on the tragedy. Here are some ‘happy thoughts’ I whipped up to cope with this loss:
Happy Thought Number One: Dick Clark was not only pretty old, but he passed away in 2012. If the apocalypse is still on schedule, things'll be getting Mayan pretty quickly - he wouldn’t have been able to host the annual Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show this December anyway.
Happy Thought Number Two: Holograms. Just kidding, the joke is overplayed and that shit disturbs me.
Happy Thought Number Three: I know this isn't the most appropriate thought to have following the death of a legendary fellow but it occurred to me that if he’s buried in a coffin, he will literally be Dick in a box… (sorry sorry sorry).
And on that note, may he rest in peace in an afterlife full of wonderful music and where every night is New Years Eve.
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