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American Bandstand: Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock 'n' Roll Empire Paperback – June 3, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195130898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195130898
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Nearly 30 years before MTV, a Philadelphia television show called Bandstand debuted featuring teenagers dancing to the hit of the day. When the original host was fired for drunk driving and becoming too friendly with his audience, the show was handed to an ambitious young man named Dick Clark. In short order, Clark went national and turned the show into the most important vehicle in the burgeoning rock'n'roll industry. While Clark barely escaped a payola scandal and is blamed for whitening the music by promoting his own series of contrived teen idols, he is nonetheless the most important nonperformer in rock'n'roll's history. Jackson's (Big Beat Heat, Schirmer, 1991) telling of the story of Dick Clark's 40-year reign as "The World's Oldest Teenager" is fascinating not only as a history of music and television but as a cultural portrait of our country's most tumultuous decades of social change. This is an essential purchase for libraries with patrons who remember Clark and American Bandstand?and that's just about everybody.?Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

``I don't make culture, I sell it'' is the epigram with which Jackson opens this overview of Dick Clark's American Bandstand--the television program that made its star a millionaire several times over. Jackson (Big Bear Heat: Alan Freed and the Early Years of Rock & Roll, not reviewed) also quotes Clark as saying about writers, ``Their overt jealousy of celebrities comes out in print. Their stories reek of sour grapes.'' That being said, it's miraculous that Clark gave Jackson an interview for this book, which explodes any beliefs that people may still hold about Clark being synonymous with ``squeaky clean.'' Depicted as profane, often clueless about musical trends, and motivated almost purely by money, Clark comes off in Jackson's depiction as being a worse ogre than rock 'n' roll aficionados claim he is, for ``whitening'' black music for widespread consumption. Jackson echoes this charge as well, extrapolating at length on how Clark helped popularize Chubby Checker's ``The Twist'' and its accompanying dance, disregarding the five-decade history of the dance in the African-American community. A large section of this volume concerns the ``payola'' scandal of the late 1950s in which Clark figured; he invested in the companies behind the songs he played--essentially giving payola to himself. Behind the scenes, he built vertical monopolies, running ABC's record label, forming his own label, and sharing ownership in a pressing plant, record distributor, and talent management agency. Clark's grave underestimation of the impact that the Beatles' arrival in America would have in 1964 resulted in his show's long, steady decline, but Clark's ability to re-create himself as game-show host and sweepstakes spokesman has kept his pockets lined. Ultimately, this is not at all about American Bandstand's impact on culture so much as its impact on Clark's wallet--a subject that gets tiresome after 200 pages or so. Jackson should have tried less Clark, more Bandstand. (37 illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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This book tells you alot.
Anthony J. Piazza
This is a very tough book to read as the author seems only to list endless, meaningless, facts without organizing them in to an interesting narrative.
John Lopez
It is an academic work on a period few have explored to this depth.
Charles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anthony G Pizza VINE VOICE on October 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In his history of Dick Clark and "American Bandstand," John Jackson had his choice of several stories. He could tell of Clark's ascension to the "Bandstand" podium at a strategic time, hooking Clark, his host network (ABC), and host city (Philadelphia) to pop culture prominence. Jackson could chronicle the city's fast-moving music scene, the teen singers, disc jockeys, and businessmen (Clark among them) who exploited the new music. Finally, he could tell the show's own 32-year story, as "Bandstand" led, followed, then rehashed youth culture.

Despite factual errors (putting "All You Need Is Love" on "Sgt. Pepper" shows as much Beatle knowledge as Jackson claimed Clark had) and unneeded 60s-70s rehash, Jackson's biography adddresses its subjects accurately and engagingly. Jackson sees Clark not as money-grubbing villain but driven, opportunistic businessman who "within the bounds of propriety - followed the dollar wherever it took him."

Clark fought to cult!ivate, keep, and wield a pleasant national image to his advantage. Jackson succeeds most in showing how that image served, even saved Clark's career. Clark's soft-spoken, "nice guy" image eased the transition from the scandalous, tragic tenure of original "Bandstand" host Bob Horn. It softened and widened (some said, despite Clark's objections, "whitened") rock and roll's ease into daily life and the youth buying power enjoining it. Mostly, it masked the clear-eyed, hard-charging figure who not only stood up to federal regulators and network bosses, but parlayed his "Bandstand" success into music-related (torn by 1959-60's "payola" scandal, covered in depth here despite little Clark participation), then rebuilt into complete media-based success.

Fans of early rock will enjoy Jackson's musical side trips.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dave Mock on August 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
John A. Jackson's book is the most revealing piece written at length about 'American Bandstand' and the man who made it tick. Jackson comes off as tough on Clark for the way the host rationalized making records and managing talent while playing that talent's work on the air. And while Clark has promoted himself and his show as a trailblazer, Jacksons research shows 'Bandstand' as much more follower than leader. Yet in the end Jackson gives the show and its longtime host-producer their due for the pivotal role both played in furthering rock as a linchpin of American music. Neither a PR vehicle nor a mantra for Clark-bashers, Jackson's book is cultural criticism at its best, with the writer knowing how to get out of the way of his subject.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By johnty@acrewllc.com on March 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
There book is more of a profile of Dick Clark than simply a historical account of the show. A must read for fans. I was wondering how My father, Edward J. Yates, who directed American Bandstand for 18 years was not even mentioned. His association with the show predates Clarks. Ed still lives in the Philadelpia area.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By seywhut on October 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My first thought is I got so sick and tired of "catchphrases" or "catch words" that the author used. It is an egotistical display. We get it! You're educated - sort of! For anybody that really loves "Bandstand" you want the facts mam - just the facts. You get facts but boy are they interwoven into a blowhard presentation. It is interesting to compare this book with Dick Clark's "Rock Roll & Remember." Dick does indeed touch on all the subjects in THIS book but it's interesting to see how blandly Clark talks about them and you don't really get the details. He sugar coats it all and downplays it.

This particular book does make you go, "Ohhhhhh! So THAT'S what was going on!" Without having a previous historical background on Bandstand or Dick Clark you'll come away confused and bored. It is not an easy read. It's a tedious read because of all the "high brow" attitude the author takes. You have to put it down and come back to it. I started to laugh when the author would use the same descriptive word and went back and started counting how many times he used that word. Mostly I came away thinking that the author was more proud of and concentrated on his vocabulary than getting the facts out. It could have been a shorter more concise book and punched some topics home.

I'm glad I read it though. After reading Dick Clark's book I was left feeling there was more to tell and I was right! The suspicions that I had about Clark were pretty much summed up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karl J. Ohrman on January 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bandstand is a detailed history of the Bandstand era. Well written. Brings back a lot of memories of Rock's early years. Dick Clark comes off prety well in this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anthony J. Piazza on January 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great Book, love it! I never knew so much about the history of bandstand!
This book tells you alot. Great for anyone who likes Dick Clark, and American bandstand!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe R. Lopez on May 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brings back fond memories or childhood and music talent. A classic. One for the Baby Boomers to have. A must to have in one's home library stock.
Joe
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By Charles on October 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mr. Jackson, with whom I have spoken, has presented his facts well and in quite readable form. This is not a fluff piece, or romantic novel. It is an academic work on a period few have explored to this depth.
Personally, he is right on the payola bucks money-facts and the behind the scenes power plays. His research was extensive. His finished product supports that.
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