We’re Goin’ Rockin’, The Philadelphia Way
~ Written by Jim Lloyd ~
Dick Clark died yesterday. Our culture has changed yet again, and not necessarily for the good. Back before there were major wars in the living room about “when the hell are you going to get a hair cut?” (Beatles, Rolling Stones) Dick Clark was introducing all different music types to a national audience. Ritchie Valens (La Bamba) one of the first Hispanic hits. Stevie Wonder, Jackson Five, etc., etc., early Motown before it was Motown (he probably invented that name).
EVERYONE watched American Bandstand. On the phone (landlines only back then) one would get calls from “some girl” asking if you saw “the show” and what did you think of Leslie Gore’s latest? Monday morning the locker room BULL was “who did you go out with?”, “what movie did you see?”, and (the BIGGY) “how far did you get?”. Dick Clark reigned over the whole scene like a cool uncle.
(Read more about American Bandstand HERE.
You HAD to watch Saturday afternoon to try to learn the new steps (the Stroll had the most variations) or at the after game dance Friday night at Holly Hall (the YWCA very neat building 2 blocks from the high school) (all sore, bruised, and aching from the game you just won or lost) you got stared down by some geek who would never get on the field, but had a cool stroll. (Where is justice in this world?)
Anyhow, back to Dick, he presented every kind of music, and in a way that if you didn’t like it, you’d just go out to the kitchen for a coke and something better would be on when you got back. (PS, the ladies on Bandstand were RIGHT THERE!) Later, Uncle Dick branched out to game shows and stuff. And we were off to college and hippie-dom. But you know what? Saturday afternoon while Mom was doing your laundry on your weekend visit home (alright, not every week, sometimes you just turned everything inside-out and wore it the next week…) there he’d be interviewing Janis Joplin. (!!!!!!!!!!) (She was the best performing artist ever in the Western Hemisphere, or the World for that matter.) And he knew it and did the interview thusly.
Alright, alright, so he got into the pyramid shows and all that other stuff (Bloopers? Life is a Blooper!)… but by then we were married and making babies (that’s the way it used to be!) and already nostalgic for the Beach Boys. And then a few weeks later, you wake up one Wednesday morning with three or four grandkids (How is that possible? Where did they come from??) and you hear Uncle Dick is dead.