Flashback: The Dave Clark Five Debut On ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’
It was 59 years ago tonight (March 8th, 1964) that the Dave Clark Five (DC5) made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The group was the second British Invasion act to infiltrate the U.S. shores, following the Beatles. The DC5 originated from North London and had 17 records on Billboard’s Top 40 between 1964 and 1967. They were best known for their string of ’60s hits, including “Glad All Over,” “Bits And Pieces,” “Because,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Catch Us If You Can,” “Over And Over,” and “Having A Wild Weekend.” All told, the group racked up a total of 18 appearances on the Sullivan show — more than any other musical act — and all of them were reportedly lip-synched.
Out on DVD is PBS’ Great Performances: The Dave Clark Five And Beyond – Glad All Over. The documentary focuses on the Brit-pop path created by the DC5 and the Beatles, featuring filmed appearances by Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, ’60s fashion icon Twiggy, among others.
Included in the film are the DC5’s’ iconic performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, along with rare live concert footage and their countless appearances on television with American musical icons. Much of this material — much of it on 35mm film — has not been seen in decades, either on television or home video.”
Beatlefan magazine’s executive editor Al Sussman says that the DC5 were clearly the Number Two British invasion act during the peak of Beatlemania: “They were the Number Two group mainly because of the fact that — first of all, they were the second group to come over here after the Beatles — but also because they released a new record, like, every two weeks. They had, I think, seven singles that hit at least the Top 20 — at least — during the course of the year.”
Sussman says that most people don’t realize that although the Dave Clark Five are synonymous with the British Invasion, they were always far more popular in the U.S. than they were in their native Britain: “What happened was, it became apparent very quickly to Dave Clark that they were much bigger here than they were in England. Because after ‘Glad All Over’ and ‘Bits And Pieces,’ they didn’t have another big hit until ‘Catch Us If You Can.’ They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show more than any other band at that time.”
Dave Clark told us that the band’s secret weapon was their lead singer, songwriter, and keyboardist, the late great Mike Smith: “He didn’t realize how good he was. I think I say that in the film. He had an amazing talent, Mike. I mean, he studied classical piano originally, so he was a musician. His dad got very disillusioned when he got his first job in a pub (laughs), y’know? But, it, it worked. He had a great voice, and he had a great look, y’know?
Longtime fan Tom Hanks inducted the DC5 into the Rock Hall in 2008. In his speech, he explained that a few things which separated the band from the pack: “The Dave Clark Five were sensations in particular ways, not the least of which was their eschewing of animals or minerals in their choice of name. The Dave Clark Five were one of the few British bands of the day that never replaced their drummer.”
The group broke up in 1970, with Clark becoming a multi-millionaire music mogul. Although the band’s material never made the switch from Top 40 to album oriented rock in the latter half of the 1960’s, Clark explained that the DC5 actually influenced the harder-edged bands that followed in their wake: “All the bands that were actually influenced by us — I mean, (Bruce) Springsteen and Kiss and all, all heavy metal — the Ramones. Y’know, I mean, the last song they ever played was ‘Any Way You Want It.’ It’s a totally different audience, I suppose, looking back, that it appealed to the Beatles or even the (Rolling) Stones.” Stones
In 2003, the group’s lead singer, keyboardist, and main songwriter, Mike Smith, was paralyzed after falling off his roof in Cadiz, Spain. In 2005, a fundraiser for Smith’s medical bills was held in New York City, featuring the reunion of Peter & Gordon, Billy J. Kramer, the Zombies, and former Moody Blues and Wings member Denny Laine.
Smith died just weeks before the band’s 2008 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The previous December, the group’s saxophonist Denis Payton died of cancer at age 63. On February 11th, 2013, bassist Rick Huxley died after a long battle with emphysema. Huxley, who grew up in Dartford, England — the same town as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards — went on to work for Vox amplifiers before moving on to his own music equipment and electrical wholesale businesses.
2019 saw the release the Dave Clark Five’s All The Hits. The 28-song set, which is available as a single CD and double-album set, features newly remastered sound by Dave Clark himself and London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios.
Among the highlights on the collection are the DC5’s most timeless tracks, including the band’s signature hit “Glad All Over,” “Bits And Pieces,” “Because,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Catch Us If You Can,” “I Like It Like That,” “You Got What It Takes,” and their sole chart-topper, “Over and Over.”