By Tyler Wilson
Throughout the 20th century, Dick Clark made his mark as a Hollywood celebrity and American legend as a TV producer and host of American Bandstand and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
Clark’s story came to an end last week when he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away in Santa Monica, California. He was 82.
Clark had been involved in television production for over 50 years. According to CBS News, Clark is credited in founding many game, music, and beauty shows. During the 1980s, Clark had shows running on all three major networks (CBS, NBC, and ABC) and was one of the Forbes’ list’s wealthiest Americans. Clark also played a role in organizing the American Music Awards and the Golden Globes.
Clark was the host of a long-running TV show called American Bandstand that ran on ABC from 1957 to 1987. He introduced rock ‘n’ roll to the American public and great artists like Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley were introduced on his show.
Clark was also famous for encouraging artistic freedom on his shows by breaking the color barrier on television. After taking over American Bandstand in 1957, he ended the show’s “all-white” policy and gave black artists the ability to play on his show, according to USA Today. The Jackson 5 and Earth, Wind, and Fire made some of their first appearances on his show.
“Music is the soundtrack of your life,” Clark once said, according to examiner.com. “I [also] don’t set trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them.”
Musicians and television stars across the United States now reminisce on their times and experiences with Clark.
“When you look at the legacy of music television, Dick Clark had such a hand in forming the foundation,” said Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles on her blog. “He was there at the forefront.”
“He will be missed greatly,” said American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, who was deeply influenced by Clark’s accomplishments and charisma. “[He was] one of the greatest influences of my life.”
From now on, ringing in the New Year will not be the same without Clark. His presence and cheerful personality filled the hearts of millions watching the final moments of each year. He was a great man who will greatly be missed.
The next time I watch the ball drop, I will be remembering the man who changed the music world with his heart and passion for what he believed in. Rest in peace, Dick Clark.