As part of PBS’s “Great Performances” series on Tuesday night, the two-hour documentary on the Dave Clark Five made its premiere. The Dave Clark Five were part of a trio of British invasion musical acts making their indelible mark in the U.S. The other two acts aforementioned with the DC5 in 1964 were of course the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
In the first half of “The Dave Clark Five and Beyond - Glad All Over” special was highlighting their career as a band. This included appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show many times over their British counterparts. Dave Clark and his eventual band mates: Mike Smith - lead vocalist/keyboardist, Denis Payton - saxophonist, Rick Huxley - bass guitarist, and Lenny Davidson - guitarist, all met while working out at the gym in London’s Tottenham.
Once the band formed they were a favorite amongst the U.S. military bases stationed around the area. They played there on the weekends, while Clark worked as an extra in a number of significant films. It was during these times they became heavily influenced from American songs played on the jukebox during intermission. Later on they would develop their loud, pulsating, and rhythmic sound unlike other British bands.
What the Cavern Club was to the Beatles in Liverpool, the Tottenham Royal was the home venue for the DC5 in the greater London area. The Beatles had their Mersey sound or the Mersey beat, Dave Clark Five were known for their Tottenham sound. One interesting moment in the docu-series was hearing from DC5 fans that included ‘60s fashion icon model Twiggy. There was a great rivalry between these bands. Was it Dave Clark or John Lennon or Mike Smith or Paul McCartney?
The second half was focused mostly on the band unanimous breakup in 1970. Clark further pursued his love of acting. He studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio in L.A. Later he was accepted into London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. For the latter, Clark changed his appearance and used his mother’s maiden name while going completely unrecognized as a student.
He eventually acquired the pioneering classic British rock/pop series “Ready Steady Go!,” something like “American Bandstand,” “Soul Train,” and the early days of MTV. Countless acts that would later go on to superstardom got their start on this excellent music program. During the mid-1980s Dave put together a sci-fi musical titled “Time” that featured Sir Laurence Olivier in his last staged performance.
The accompanying album featured artists such as Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Freddie Mercury, and Julian Lennon. There were clips of Julian recording in the studio and being interviewed by Clark. It was good to see Julian getting some overdue recognition. It ends with Tom Hanks inducting the Dave Clark Five into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.