Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rant #1,182: Glad All Over Again

Did you have a chance to watch last night's PBS special on the Dave Clark Five?

If not, "The Dave Clark Five and Beyond--Glad All Over" on the station's "Great Performances" program will be rebroadcast this Friday.

Even though you pretty much only get "Bits and Pieces" of the entire Dave Clark Five story, it is well worth the two hours that is invested in Tottenham, England's gift to the world.

The Dave Clark Five--or the DC5, as they were nicknamed, comprised of Mike Smith, Lenny Davidson, Dennis Payton and Rick Huxley--came in on the coattails of the Beatles' fabulous success in 1964, but they made such a name for themselves that they allowed subsequent British acts, including the Rolling Stones and the Who, to be successful on these shores.

They were a hit singles band, and you can name the songs right off the top of your head--"Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," "Can't You See That She's Mine," "Catch Us If You Can," "Any Way You Want It," "You Got What It Takes," and each one of them was singable, approachable, and as much ear candy as "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was.

What made the DC5 stand out from the other groups--including the Beatles--was their look, their style, and the fact that they included keyboards and a sax in their music, which the other bands of the time generally did not.

And that was really the crux of the special. Interviewing everyone from the Sirs--Paul McCartney and Elton John--to Whoopi Goldberg, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Twiggy and Gene Simmons, that is what stood out for each of them. The sound, the style, and the success.

Sure, lots was glossed over with the special, including rumors that Clark used backup drummers even when performing live--most of the talking heads on the show marveled at their stage show, saying that they were a keen live band, better than any of their contemporaries--the rumor that Clark treated his bandmates as paid employees, and that he also stole royalties by putting his name on songs that he didn't write--but generally, the special spoke positively of the DC5's experience as a band.

Heck, with the special written, produced and directed by Dave Clark, did anyone think that he would waste time on all the warts?

Simmons said that in every live band's DNA, there is a piece of the Dave Clark Five, and he is probably right to a certain extent, because they seemed to have been a great live band.

One piece of the puzzle that has been out there for years is finally shown on the special . There is supposedly scant proof existing that the DC5 were a great live band, because supposedly few recordings exist of the band playing live, and what exists is nearly unlistenable.

Well, the special actually includes a couple of live performances, not shown in full, but you can see the power of the band. They also do a nice, quick turn on a song that wasn't theirs--"Georgia"--which shows just how good lead vocalist and songwriter Mike Smith actually was.

The special wasn't all good. Lenny Davidson is the one band member still alive, but he is never interviewed in the present day. Clark does allude to this, saying that Davidson was married, so he wasn't as close to him as he was other members of the band because the marrieds went their way with their wives, while the others went their way scouting out the chicks (nothing is said about Clark's supposed homosexuality, either, but to me, that is all fine and good).

The talking heads talk about the power of their singles, and we hear many of their singles throughout the show, but not a single picture sleeve is shown, only the 1990 singles that were released when Clark had a brief agreement with Hollywood Records to re-release all the DC5 music, which caved in very quickly (no mention is made of this situation).

The American albums are shown, by the way.

After an explanation is given for the band's end--they simply got sick of touring, and had decided that they would call it a day after a few years of being a studio band and targeting Europe with their music--the last half hour is really too Euro-centric, talking about Clark's later life as the owner of the "Ready, Steady, Go" franchise and as a stage show producer--his show was "Time," and it starred a cast of everyone from Sir Laurence Olivier to Dionne Warwick to Julian Lennon to Freddy Mercury--but to American tastes, this is just a big "so what." And nothing is said of Clark's later life to the present, or the lives of his bandmates.

A lot of emphasis is placed on their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--and Tom Hanks' completely over the top speech about them--but that is OK. They deserved the honor, and Hanks is a true fan of the band, so why not include it?

There is a DVD out including the special and another disk with what wasn't shown on the telecast, so I look forward to that too.

Anyway, I would give the show an A for effort and a B+ for execution. Clark is a true businessman, as was pointed out in the special, and a true businessman does not reveal all of his tricks, and Clark certainly didn't here.

But otherwise, if you are interested in pop culture, this is an absolute must to watch when it comes on again.

"I Like It Like That" indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Did you get a chance to watch the DVD with extended features? They have the entire Royal Command Performance where they play live "Nineteen Days" and Mike sings "Georgia". Great stuff!



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