Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dave Clark Five

The Dave Clark Five was one of the most successful British Invasion bands. For a few years, they were one step below the Beatles in popularity.

That's right. All the history books that list the Rolling Stones and Who as next in popularity are wrong. Dead wrong.

The DC5 were probably the best singles band of the bunch, right up there with the Beatles from 1964-1967 or so. In the U.S., they charted 24 singles, they were on The Ed Sullivan Show more times than any other male rock band, and they also had numerous hit albums. They also had their own movie, and they were pretty much ubiquitous during those years--they were on TV, in the movies, on concert stages and on the radio constantly.

When psychedelia hit, the music was changing, and although the changes in their music were there, they were pretty subtle, and U.S. audiences moved onto other things. However, in their native England, they became huge, and had a number of hits after the watershed years.

Although rarely, if ever, shrouded in controversy during their hit years, they have been encased in controversies in the intervening years. Band leader, drummer, singer and songwriter Dave Clark has only allowed a sparse number of cuts to be released on CD, and after years of no releases, he has finally allowed tracks to be released on iTunes.

After a firestorm of controversy, they were finally enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years ago. However, lead singer and keyboardist Mike Smith and and sax player Dennis Payton passed on prior to their induction.

To this day, they remain something of an enigma. Who played on their records? What was the relationhip between the band and Clark? Who wrote the tunes?

All of these controversies can't overshadow the music, which is short, direct, and foot stomping rock and roll at its best.

Epic released a number of picture sleeves to their singles during their heyday, and most are basically the same on each side. There are some exceptions, notably "Please Tell Me Why", which reached No. 28 on the American charts, and was backed with "Look Before You Leap", which reached No. 101 on the Bubbling Under charts. This is one of the few instances where a definitive "A" side was not chosen for one of their singles.

I have also included two rarities here. One is a European EP that I have which includes "Poison Ivy," which to my knowledge was never released in the U.S. The other is a cardboard record promo from their film "Having a Wild Weekend."

Dave Clark Five - Please Tell Me Why.mp3
Dave Clark Five - Look Before You Leap.mp3

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