On this historic day, August 5, 1957, “American Bandstand” makes its national debut


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The entertainment world was turned upside down when the historic television program “American Bandstand” made its national debut on this day in history, August 5, 1957.

“American Bandstand” had been a local hit called “Bandstand” in Philadelphia since 1952, and led since 1956 by an ambitious young entertainer named Dick Clark.

He was given the chance to take over the program when its original host, Bob Horn, was fired after an arrest for drunk driving.

Clark then lobbied for a wider audience. His wish was granted on August 5, when “American Bandstand” aired on 67 ABC-affiliated stations across the country.

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Fans loved the show and Clark’s affable on-air personality, as he quickly proved he had fantastic eyes and ears for trends and talent.

The biggest bands of the rock ‘n’ roll era, in multiple genres, have all appeared on the program: Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Beach Boys, to name a few.

Singer and musician Bobby Rydell sits next to host Dick Clark in the ‘American Bandstand’ audience circa 1958. Rydell sang popular songs such as ‘Volare’ and appeared in the hit film ‘Bye Bye Birdie “.
(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Clark, the future titan of entertainment, “transformed himself and a local Philadelphia television show into two of the most culturally significant forces of the early rock and roll era,” notes History. com.

Billy Williams performed “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter,” while The Chordettes sang “Just Between You and Me” on the nation’s first episode, according to IMDB.

According to Rolling Stone, two-thirds of acts in the Rock Hall of Fame debuted on “American Bandstand.”

The show quickly featured an astounding roster of rising acts from the burgeoning R&B, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll genres.

Paul Anka made his national debut two days after “American Bandstand”, performing “Diana” on the program on August 7, 1957.

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“From the start, he introduced the country to a parade of future Hall of Famers, including Johnny Cash, Eddie Cochran, Sam Cooke, the Drifters, Buddy Holly and Jackie Wilson,” Rolling Stone reported when Clark died in 2012. .

A Rolling Stone account claims that two-thirds of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members made their national debut on “American Bandstand.”

In this Feb. 3, 1959, file photo, Dick Clark selects a record from his station's library in Philadelphia.  Clark, the television host who helped bring rock 'n' roll to fame, died on April 18, 2012 of a heart attack at age 82.

In this Feb. 3, 1959, file photo, Dick Clark selects a record from his station’s library in Philadelphia. Clark, the television host who helped bring rock ‘n’ roll to fame, died on April 18, 2012 of a heart attack at age 82.
(AP Photo/File)

The program has also helped inspire nationwide dance crazes including Watusi, Stroll and Twist.

The song ‘The Twist’ was named the biggest hit on the charts of all time by Billboard in 2018.

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“American Bandstand” was such an immediate national hit that ABC in October moved the show from its 3:30 p.m. after-school timeslot targeting teens to a primetime slot with wider audience potential. .

The program reached up to 20 million viewers per episode, according to entertainment sources.

Michael Jackson plays "We are almost there" on "American bandstand" in 1975.

Michael Jackson performing “We’re Almost There” on “American Bandstand” in 1975.
(ABC/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Clark saw bigger things ahead of him, even in the early years of “American Bandstand.”

He formed Dick Clark Productions in 1957, produced and hosted the first “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in 1972 and established the American Music Awards in 1974 to rival the Grammy Awards, according to a published timeline of the show. by CBS News. .

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Clark and “American Bandstand” ended their network in 1987, after 30 years as arguably the most influential program in entertainment history.

Clark himself was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Some rock legends made their final national appearance on “American Bandstand.”

“He curated the soundtrack to the life of the American teenager,” says Rock Hall. “As the charismatic host of ‘American Bandstand,’ Dick Clark gave rock bands national exposure, opposed censorship, and spread the gospel of rock and roll.”

Some rock legends made their final national appearance on “American Bandstand.”

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Buddy Holly performed “It’s So Easy” on the August 7, 1958 episode.

He was killed in a plane crash, along with Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” JP Richardson, the following February.


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