Dick Clark, who helped promote the careers of some of the biggest names in rock and pop music on American TV, has died aged 82.
Clark, who presented the long-running music show American Bandstand and an annual New Year’s Eve special from Times Square in New York, had a heart attack at a hospital in California. He had been there for an outpatient procedure.
Clark was often referred to as “the world’s oldest teenager” because of his youthful appearance.
He had continued working even after suffering a debilitating stroke in 2004.
American Bandstand, the show Clark hosted for three decades, transformed the way music was presented on TV. Clark joined the show in 1956 and it soon became a US phenomenon, helping to bring rock’n’roll into the mainstream.
Clark would later describe the series this way: “I played records, the kids danced and America watched.”
Alice Cooper paid the following tribute: “I used to come home from elementary school to watch American Bandstand. It had all the new songs, all the new dances, and it had the happiest guy in the world presenting them to you. I had no idea that later in my career I would know Dick Clark on a professional level. I ran into him some years ago, and he said to me: ‘Hey, Coop, if you had your own radio show, what would it be like?’ I told him it would be more like the free-form FM stations of the 60s, where the DJs actually played what they liked and demographics didn’t play a role. He said: ‘Alice, why don’t you do it then?’ Just like that, my radio show, Nights With Alice Cooper, was born. It’s been nine years later and I’m still on the air! And let me just add that NOBODY loved rock’n’roll more than Dick Clark!”
Kiss’ Paul Stanley said: “As a little boy I sat transfixed to our television every afternoon and Saturday night watching American Bandstand. Dick Clark was the face of rock and roll and its best ambassador. His decades of successes both in and outside of the music industry are unparalleled. He championed Kiss when others turned away and was instrumental in breaking us through his show In Concert. Through the years Dick was always available when I had a question or wanted guidance. Dick Clark was the rare exception who was a bigger person in real life than the public image or legend that was also to be his legacy. I will remember him with great respect and gratitude.”
Ann Wilson said on Heart’s Twitter page: “Back in the 1960s the pop culture catchphrase was: ‘Never trust anyone over 30.’ Dick Clark was trustworthy all the way home. Rock on sir!”
Duane Eddy also tweeted: “Rest in peace, Dick Clark. Forever in the rock and roll memory of America.”
The Twitter account of Times Square added: “We are absolutely heartbroken. One of our favorite people, and a Times Square New Year’s Eve icon, Dick Clark has passed away at age 82.”