Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit

Tonight a select group of musicians will be inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame. The list includes Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, and Madonna. Also, being honored -- the Dave Clark Five.

Dave Clark FiveDave Clark Five

This band burst onto the pop charts in 1964. They were part of a musical revolution fondly dubbed "the British Invasion." The World's April Peavey takes us back to the hysteria and music.

They were nicknamed the DC5. And they arrived in America right on the heels of the Beatles' first visit to the U.S.

The Fab Four landed in February 1964 -- the Fab Five in March. And for the next three years the DC5 became fixtures on the pop charts.

The Dave Clark Five went on to score 15 consecutive Top 20 hits. And appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show 18 times. The press LOVED to pit the DC5 against the Beatles.

They were the "London Clean Cuts" versus the "Liverpool Long Hairs." Teen magazines would devote whole issues to these two bands -- with features like "Dave's Beatle Battle Plans" and "Will the Beatles Have to Change?"

Reporters loved to make comparisons at news conferences:

�How do you describe yourself different from the Beatles?�

�Well, if you like it we copy the Beatles, but there's five of us and we've got an organ and a sax. So, we make an entirely different sound.�

�Have they copied you?�

�No, I don't think so. Its two entirely different sounds.�

Dave, Lenny, Rick, Denis, and Mike aren't as famous TODAY as John, Paul, George, and Ringo. But between 1964 and 1966, the two bands were in the same league. Like the Beatles, the DC5 were met by hysteria everywhere they went. Here's Dave Clark himself describing decades later what the band's tours were like.

"We had our own plane which was wonderful with the DC5 on it. And you're picked up in two limos all you do is get whisked to the hotel, you take the whole floor, you're locked in really. You're whisked to the theater outside through the kitchen to the hotel, you go straight in the back way...and then you're whisked out. We didn't see anything. It was exciting, it was magic, and some horrendous things happened. One girl jumped off the balcony to get to the stage, broke both her legs. It was absolute hysteria."

The Dave Clark Five played catchy pop tunes. Veteran British DJ Ed Stewpot spun their records at the time.

"They came up with this very distinctive rhythm sound because Dave had this distinctive, simplistic sound on drums. They had an excellent lead vocalist, but they were part of that time. When there were a lot of good singer-songwriters around and they were part of the sixties boom."

Dave Clark and two other members of the DC5 are expected to attend tonight's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Sadly, saxophonist Denis Payton died two years ago. And lead singer Mike Smith passed away just last month. Ed Stewpot says it's about time the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally pays tribute to the Dave Clark Five.

�Perhaps they suddenly thought 'my goodness when we look at the charts at that time, both America and Britain, there was a band we've forgotten.' They were a good-looking group, good and wholesome, and they made records which people still love to this day.�

And that enduring love for their music is the best tribute the Dave Clark Five could get.

For the World, I'm April Peavey.