Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Dave Clark Five

The PBS Great Performances program on Tuesday, April 8th was The Dave Clark Five - Glad All Over. If you are a child of the 60's you are very familiar with DC5. Even if you are much younger you have probably heard their music. This show was a two hour documentary about the British band and not a concert. There was plenty of music but very few complete songs. 

It's hard to believe now, but for a couple of years the Dave Clark Five were as popular as the Beatles. They had a string of top ten hits between 1964 and 1967 in the United States and then a couple of more years at the top in the UK and Europe. They were the second British Invasion group to appear on Ed Sullivan and were on that show 18 times. The press manufactured a rivalry between DC5 who played the Tottenham Sound and the Beatles who played the Liverpool Mersey Beat but the bands never really bought into it. The DC5 did have a different sound. That can be attributed to more prominent drums, a keyboard and a saxophone along with the usual guitar and bass. The DC5 has a bigger sound than most other groups of the British Invasion.  

There are a few reasons that the DC5 is not as well known today as the Beatles or Rolling Stones. For one their song catalog is not as deep although it is impressive. They were not one hit wonders but also were not as prolific at writing their own songs. They also pretty much disappeared after 1970. They didn't have reunion tours in the 80's, 90's, 00's or ever. The individual members didn't go on to big solo careers or form new bands. They just faded away. That shouldn't diminish their contribution to the music scene. There is also another reason they are now more obscure than some other bands of that era. I'll get to that a little later.

The documentary is a combination of original footage, narration and interviews. Although the program has a 2014 copyright date, some of the interviews were done much earlier. Freddie Mercury and Lawrence Olivier obviously aren't still with us. There were also interviews with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zant, Max Weinberg, Stevie Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg and several others that may be recent. Scattered throughout the documentary are clips from the DC5 induction speech into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Tom Hanks. He did a terrific job and managed to get most of the DC5 hit song titles into the speech. The induction was in 2008, it should have been much earlier. The last 30 minutes of the program are mostly dedicated to Dave Clark's career after the band's breakup. He has had an interesting life in music, TV, stage and movies.

The Dave Clark Five consisted of Dave, Mike, Lenny, Rick and Dennis. Not quite as catchy as John, Paul, George and Ringo. Unfortunately only Dave and Lenny are still with us. Sadly Mike, the lead singer, died just a couple of weeks before the group's induction into the Hall of Fame.

Getting back to the lack of current recognition for the group, I think it is mostly due to the fact that their music is so hard to find. Dave Clark owns all the rights and has been very stingy with allowing anyone to license those rights. There may be some songs available on iTune. There are no albums available on Google Play, only a couple of cuts on oldies compilation albums. Even Amazon has very little DC5 music and much of that is old vinyl for high prices. 

There are some videos on YouTube if you want to listen. Here's one of my favorite DC5 songs, Because. Check out the DC5 discography, I'm sure you'll see some familiar songs.

I enjoyed the program and learned new things about a group I enjoyed immensely way back when. If you missed the show, it is available online at the PBS website you can also buy the DVD.

I hope your day is Glad All Over.


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