Friday, April 20, 2012

The English Beat Interviewed by Dick Clark on American Bandstand

The passing of Dick Clark just two months after the death of Don Cornelius in February, is the end of an era in American music history and another reminder of the inevitable passing of time.  Both Soul Train and American Bandstand were integral parts of my musical education and I looked forward to them both equally. Soul Train taught me so much about music and Black American culture and the Soul Train line taught me if you were a good dancer you could meet more girls!  American Bandstand allowed me to see many of the bands I was passionately dedicated to, perform live in front of my own eyes. And so on many Saturday mornings during the early 1980's my burgeoning music fandom was rewarded by Clark who booked most of what we now lovingly call 80's new wave, including A Flock Of Seagulls, Squeeze, Haircut 100, Simple Minds, The Go-Go's, ABC, Adam & The Ants and of course, The English Beat.

The English Beat appeared on American Bandstand twice in the span of just seven months, which is testament to their growing popularity here in the U.S. and their appearance at both US Festivals. In fact,  they were the only band to be invited to play both the 1982 and 1983 US Festival's. The two invitations are a testament to the hard work they put into breaking the U.S. The release of 'Special Beat Service" in the US in 1982 had solidified them as a "new wave" band rather than a ska band and that helped to expand their audience here.

The band first appeared on the show on September 18, 1982 performing "Save it for Later" and "Sugar and Stress", from Special Beat Service.  Amazingly, they shared billing that day with Australia`s Men At Work.  The band were at the height of their game during this time and from what I remember, the American!Bandstand performances were equally impressive.  I immediately purchased "Special Beat Service" soon afterwards.

The band was back again on April 23, 1983 when they performed "I Confess"" & ""Save It for Later."   Sadly, the would break up a mere two months later.  Though their performances are not currently available, you can watch the legendary Clark interacting with the band during his charming 2-minute interviews.

Dave Wakeling shared the following about Clark on the band's Facebook page:  "dick clark was charming, learned all our names in advance and came in the dressing room to thank us all individually for being on his show. being on american bandstand was a feather in my cap. thanks dick clark for your kind ways, and RIP x"

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