Lifestyle & Belief

Dick Clark remembered for his influence on pop culture


LAS VEGAS - JUNE 27: TV personalities Dick Clark (L) and Ryan Seacrest attend the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards held at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Kevin Winter

Dick Clark, the 82-year-old television and music legend, died yesterday of a massive heart attack. He leaves behind not only a wife and three children, but also an influence on pop culture that will probably never be matched.

Clark single-handedly changed the music and television industry in 1956 with the introduction of his show, "American Bandstand".

MTV went so far as to say, without Clark, there might be no MTV. In the article for the site, writer Gil Kaufman said, "He wasn't the inventor of a dance craze or a label boss or even a particularly hip guy. What he was, though, was a visionary. And as much as any hotshot who played a guitar, figured out how to mix two turntables and a microphone, wiggled his hips or invented the next big sound in music, Clark was instrumental in making pop music pop."

More from GlobalPost: New Year's Eve host, American Bandstand legend Dick Clark dead at 82

In the 1950's rock and roll was a genre set aside for rebels. Clark brought it to the forefront and featured it nightly for all American teens to dance to. He featured bands no other show or radio station would play. He crossed segregation lines in music, bringing motown to the masses. 

Clark went far beyond being the face of just one show. Under his Dick Clark Productions company, Clark produced children's shows, game shows and made-for-TV movies. He was a true pop culture renaissance man. 

Clark, or "America's youngest teenager", as he was affectionately known, had a clear influence on media culture today. Bruce (Cousin Brucie) Morrow, a radio host now on SiriusXM told the New York Daily News,  “I can’t imagine our world without Dick Clark. You’d just look at him — that face. I never thought we’d lose him.”

Showing just how far his musical taste and influence went, stars from Diana Ross and Janet Jackson, to Barry Manilow and Kenny Rogers all reacted in the same way. They each shared a deep appreciation for the man who helped shape their careers. 

In a statement Diana Ross thanked Clark for giving her group, The Supremes, their start. In part she said, "I will always appreciate what he did for me and for popular music. He presented Motown and The Supremes on tour with the Caravan of Stars and on American Bandstand where I got my start. Dick Clark was a pioneer, he was a music star maker, he was a legend and was my friend."

Manilow shared his thoughts via Facebook saying, "This is a sad day. He was a dear friend, supporting me and my music for all of my years in the business. A great businessman and a true gentleman. An inspiration. My heart is so heavy now."

Clark's most notable influence was made on Ryan Seacrest, whom many believe will be the pop culture reincarnation of Clark. In a statement Seacrest said, "I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel."

Clark handed over the reins to his popular "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" special to Seacrest in 2006, after Clark suffered a stroke two years prior. 

"When I joined his show in 2006, it was a dream come true to work with him every New Year's Eve for the last six years," Seacrest said. "He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I'll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me."

Clark's influence and pention for showcasing music others wouldn't will without a doubt live on through his modern-day counterpart. Seacrest finished his statement by speaking for everyone working in radio, television and music saying, "We will all miss him."