Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Rant #904: Once There Were Five, Now There Are Two
People come and go in our lives.
Some make a lasting impression, and some basically pass us in the wind.
We meet lots of people during our lifetimes, and some people we never meet, but get to know from afar.
Such was the case with Rick Huxley, who died yesterday way too soon at the age of 72.
I never knew Huxley personally, but I got to know him through his music.
Huxley was the bassist of my favorite British Invasion band, the Dave Clark Five.
The band, affectionately known as the DC5, was in the runners up spot, right behind the Beatles, during the early days of the British Invasion of music that came over to our shores from England.
Their music was known as the "Tottenham Sound," and it was basically foot-stomping, good-time music.
Think of their hits: "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," "Over and Over," "Catch Us If You Can," "You Got What It Takes," ... I could write an entire Rant on all of those big songs that they had.
During those early years, they seemed like not only regulars on every Top 40 radio station in the country, but also on television, in particular, on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
Sullivan seemed to like them, like them even more than the Beatles, and they hold the record for male rock and roll performers' appearances on the show.
Huxley was basically in the background in the band, with drummer Dave Clark out front with his name and drum kit and Mike Smith at the keyboards and the lead singer.
But Huxley, along with Denis Payton and Lenny Davidson, made up the backbone of the band, and they were quite strong, belting out hit records and a load of other great tunes, instrumentals too.
They appeared in a few films, including their own "Having a Wild Weekend," and pretty much from 1964-1967, they were ubiquitous, both on record and television.
As the music changed, they did too, but not enough to offset the new, heavier music.
Their popularity zoomed in Europe from 1967 to 1970 or so, but not in the U.S.
For all intents and purposes, the DC5 pretty much ended their run during this time, but unlike other bands from that period, they never really chose to cash in on their success afterward by playing oldies shows and releasing numerous compilations and repackages of their albums and hit singles.
Dave Clark, the mastermind behind the band, had his own reasons, but it made fans furious. Other bands were very happy to come back to play for their fans, but when the DC5 ended, it was really over for the band.
All the members went their separate ways.
Huxley, a native of Dartford, England--the same town that spawned Keith Richards and Mick Jagger--stayed in music, did a few other things, and pretty much faded into the woodwork.
In 2008, the band, under a cloud of mystery and intrigue, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Clark, Davidson and Huxley were at the ceremony (Huxley at the far right in the above photo), together again for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Clark has since released a wealth of material on iTunes, and today, if you want to hear the DC5, you pretty much can.
But it is the old records that really stand out. For me, the only way to listen to the DC5 is on record.
Huxley was supposedly a heavy smoker, and he had emphysema.
But according to Clark--who reportedly has stayed close with Huxley--he had just spoken to his old bandmate, and Huxley had recently been given a clean bill of health by his doctor.
"He always made me smile and I'll miss that immensely," Clark said. "He was never arrogant and flashy. He was a gentleman and very low key. He was a very, very talented musician and a great friend."
No official cause of death has yet been announced..
But again, those records ... they are the best way to listen to the DC5.
So today, if you can, put one of those old, scratchy records on your turntable and listen, really listen, to their music the way it was supposed to be listened to.
That will really pay tribute to Huxley, and even though as I said I didn't know him personally, I think he would like that.
Posted by Larry at 2:41 AM