While Dick Clark, who died today at 82, was never cool, I have to relate this anecdote. Last week, while I was tidying up around the house and folding laundy, I put on Chronology, a Talking Heads DVD, a compilation of filmed performances from the mid-Seventies, when they were still basically learning to play, to their last time on stage together, at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In between was their appearance on American Bandstand, and a performance of Take Me To The River. It was lip-synched, but at least the crowd was into it. Out popped Dick Clark for those quick band chats he used to do ... and it struck me that Talking Heads was a band that rarely got on network television, period. (There are also performances from Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman.) So, give it to Dick Clark for playing tastemaker; I have to confess that as hokey as American Bandstand got, I tuned in a fair bit. On Saturdays in my music-mad youth, where else could you go to see what singers and rock bands actually looked like?