Dick Clark’s death yesterday sent waves through the music community, as countless took to social networks and websites to express their condolences, stories, memories, and thoughts on the longtime television and radio personality. We’ve compiled a list of industry executives and music business people who have shared their thoughts publicly.
“We lost a giant. I remember meeting with Dick early on and telling him we wanted to break into all kinds of new formats, reality television, non-scripted, more game shows and competitions and documentaries, and Dick encouraged that. When he first started Dick Clark Productions, there was no stone left unturned. He would personally pitch various concepts to all the networks, broadcast and cable alike. His feeling was he didn’t want to specialize in one thing in particular. Yes, it was built on music, but he wanted to branch out and produce all forms of television programming, and we really followed that recipe.
He took television beyond traditional show business. He was a shrewd businessman and realized early on that it wasn’t enough for a personality like himself to just host different shows. He wanted to create the shows, he wanted to write the shows, he wanted to produce the shows and he wanted to own the shows. And that model was revolutionary, and it’s a model that’s being followed today by the likes of Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest, to name a couple.
He would come out to the Academy of Country Music Awards just as a fan, just to watch. He had no direct involvement, but he had put the show together with the Academy, he wanted to remain an integral part of the relationship, and he would come out with his wife and they would take in the show. And New Year’s Rockin’ Eve he was very hands-on involved. He would make calls to artists and request them to be on the show, he would write his own copy on-air, he was involved in all the traffic, the run-down and what we were featuring on the show. Up until his last few days, his 40th anniversary, he was actually producing the shows. he wasn’t just an on-air talent.
He’s so associated with pop music, but Dick had no pride or prejudice when it came to music, he wanted to spotlight the best hits and what everybody was following, and that could be a pop hit but also country music in Nashville or jazz in New Orleans. He was a music fan, he liked to say. He wasn’t just the maestro. He was a fan.” – Mark Shapiro, CEO, Dick Clark Productions.
“I go back to 1958 with Dick and the daytime local show. I had a record that was kind of horrible, but he interviewed me for half an hour, asking why I wanted to be in the music business. I told him my father was sick, I had two brothers and I just wanted to make money for my family. So he put me on the show and it changed my life and my family’s life. It gave me a chance to live the good life like I am now.
What I remember mainly about him was that he had great business acumen. He was always in the business of the show but in a good way. He was very adept at what was going on in the music business and other businesses. He always gave good advice on that aspect. You could always give him a call and ask him what he thought of this or that.
He’s a man who I think put the face on the music. You would hear all these records, but he showed you all the people making the records, and god bless him. He was an icon. That word is used loosely but not with him. It’s about what he gave and how he felt about people. He’ll always be special to me. He’s one of the guys who you think is never going to leave.” – Fabian
“I used to come home from elementary school to watch American Bandstand. It had all the new songs, all the new dances, and it had the happiest guy in the world presenting them to you. I had no idea that later in my career I would know Dick Clark on a professional level. I ran into him some years ago, and he said to me “Hey Coop, if you had your own radio show, what would it be like?” I told him it would be more like the free-form FM stations of the 60’s, where the DJ’s actually played what they liked and demographics didn’t play a role. He said ‘Alice, why don’t you do it then?’ Just like that, my radio show Nights With Alice Cooper was born. It’s been 9 years and I’m still on the air! And let me just add that NOBODY loved rock n roll more than Dick Clark!” – Alice Cooper
“He started out as a disc jockey and became a mogul in the most expansive use of the term. He was a terrific guy and beyond his show he was instrumental in setting up tours at a time when there wasn’t a touring industry. That all got developed 10 years later. At the time, he was the only guy that had a show on a network so he had tremendous sales power. There were other regional shows that had on music but they would only impact 400 miles. There was no one else out there with a show that could generate the kind of exposure that his show delivered.
He always affected a strong personal relationship with acts. He had his ear to the ground, and he also had a hell of a group of people who worked with him toward finding acts. He wouldn’t take on regional acts but he was aware of them and once they started to spread and began hitting the Billboard charts, he would put them on his show. He would take acts as they were about to become established and make them much more popular.” – John Sippel, Former GM of Monument Records and head of Publicity for Mercury records, Long-time Billboard reporter
“Before I could drive I saw the show from Philadelphia. There was Jackie Wilson sliding down a slide and jumping toward the camera – almost into our house. His dynamic energy and his hit were right there – in my face – on a black and white television screen. Later Dick Clark and his incredible team presented many of my clients on his shows from “American Bandstand” to “Where The Action Is” and other annual specials and charity fund raising events. He had a winning personality in person as well as on television. An incredible man who drove music forward and forever left an incredible mark on our music industry.” – Nederlander Concerts CEO Alex Hodges
“More than anyone else of his time, Dick understood the convergence of television and music as parallel popular cultural experiences. His understanding of what television was as a medium was matched by his innate sense of how music could be packaged within the TV screen, whether it was “American Bandstand,” the new year’s shows or the various awards shows that he produced.
We had a very healthy competition (the Grammys and the AMA’s), and there was no one more spirited in battle than Dick. He was competitive. He wanted to win, and there were years when the AMA’s outrated the Grammys, and vice versa. I think his sense of competition energized us, and I think in the long run made both shows better and more competitive. He was definitely a mentor to me, and [what] he accomplished in his lifetime was singular.” – Ken Ehrlich
“He was a groundbreaking tastemaker who took the radio format and transformed it to television. He managed to stay young and current throughout the long arc of his career. As a kid I would rush home everyday to watch “American Bandstand.” His show became the predecessor for all shows – even ones like “Dancing With The Stars.” Here I was a kid who while I was growing up watched this iconic figure and to get a call from him still filled me with a lot of irony. Even through when I was chairman at Sony, it was still an honor to work with a genius and icon like Dick Clark, who built a television empire.” – Tommy Mottola, former chairman and CEO of Sony Music
“Dick Clark pioneered pop rock music on TV. Without DC there never could have been MTV.” – Michael Cohl, Promoter