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Interview: Dave Clark on the Dave Clark Five and the British Invasion, Pt. 2

Dave Clark and members Lenny Davidson and Rick Huxley inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Dave Clark and members Lenny Davidson and Rick Huxley inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

(Introduction: In part one of this interview, Dave Clark discussed the group's early years and their incredible success in America.)

The Dave Clark Five and their gold records.
Dave Clark/PBS - Used by permission

Dave Clark says despite all the magazines and the press saying that there was a rivalry between the Dave Clark Five and the Beatles, no such thing existed.

“No there wasn't,” he said in reponse to the question. “And I was very flattered when Paul agreed to come on the documentary and he actually summed it up. There was no rivalry. In England in 1963, most of the hit records were from Liverpool. You had the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. And then all of a sudden, a group from London just took off. And we selling 180,000 records a day, and were still number 2. We had to sell nearly 2 million copies to knock the Beatles off their biggest-selling single, 'I Want To Hold Your Hand,' and we ended up selling 2 ½ million.

“But no, the boys were playing in London. They invited us down. We went to their show backstage. We all went out to a club after to celebrate. There was no rivalry. The press made the rivalry and I think the press stated that fact and the Americans followed it up.”

What did he think the biggest difference between the Dave Clark Five and the Beatles?

“I think, first of all, the lineup because we had sax, we had keyboard, we had organ. And all groups in those days had three guitars – rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass guitar and drums. I felt the sound was different. I always made the drums prominent so that we got a different sound. There was nothing over clever. I always believe when you make records its the gaps that you leave that make things work. You can show more by doing less.”

The Dave Clark Five appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” 18 times, more than the Beatles or than any other British group. What was it like working with him?

“I found him absolutely charming, actually. You cannot knock success. Seventy million people a week. That's phenomenal for maybe 20 years. I think Ed Sullivan was responsible for the success of the British Invasion. The disc jockeys and radio stations were wonderful, but to actually be seen in 70 million homes. You couldn't do that today. There was only three channels in America. You didn't have computers or other things. So it was amazing, pretty amazing.”

A Dave Clark Five cover of the Monkees' “Last Train to Clarksville,” has been on iTunes for a couple of years. Clark said the group was offered a series similar to "The Monkees."

“Well, originally 'The Monkees' was offered to us,” Clark said. “They approached our booking agent. It wasn't called 'The Monkees.' 'It was a show about a group and they offered it to us. But the problem was it was signing up for three years, more or less 24/7 with three-year options. By then we'd hit it off huge in America and, of course, I turned it down. But for any unknown group, it would have been perfect.”

Clark says The Monkees' show's theme song was inspired by a Dave Clark Five song. “The amazing thing was the guys that wrote the actual song, 'Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees' ('The Monkees theme song), Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote me a note and said, 'We've taken your title song, 'Catch Us If You Can' and if you listen to the finger snaps and everything going in the beginning of 'Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees,' it is 'Catch Us If You Can.'”

With the Dave Clark Five's complete remastered catalog, including three albums of unreleased songs, available on iTunes for a couple of years, will the albums be eventually issued on CD? “I'm seriously thinking about it,” he said.

He says he's also looking into releasing “Ready, Steady, Go!,” the '60s British music series which he bought the rights to and which aired at one time on the Disney Channel in the U.S., on DVD. That series included appearances by almost every famous music act of the day, including the Beatles, Dave Clark Five, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Small Faces and Otis Redding.

(Note: A DVD of the PBS Dave Clark Five special will be released May 13.)

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