12.17.2007

The Dave Clark Five? Who is Kidding Whom?

by Jeff Siegel

I do not to like to write these pieces. All things being equal, I would prefer to sit at my keyboard and ruminate about Robert Johnson's deal with the devil or ponder the country rock movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which seemed to reconcile country and rock music and then didn't.

But when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lets in the Dave Clark Five, I hear the sound of chalk screeching on a blackboard, and I can't contain myself. The Dave Clark Five? THE DAVE CLARK FIVE? THE DAVE CLARK FIVE?

This year's inductees are especially odd – Madonna (full name: Madonna Ciccone), who is about as rock 'n' roll as Edith Piaf; John Mellencamp, commercial radio's version of Bruce Springsteen; Leonard Cohen, who is even less rock 'n' roll than Madonna; and the Ventures, an instrumental group of no particular renown unless you like surf music or Hawaii Five-O.

But the Dave Clark Five? THE DAVE CLARK FIVE? THE DAVE CLARK FIVE? Watch this, and tell me that this band belongs in the Hall of Fame:



One of the problems with halls of fame, whether they're for baseball, television or rock and roll, is that people get in who shouldn't. That's just the way these things work – Bob Mackie, who designed Carol Burnett's gowns, is in the TV hall, and Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo, isn't. You accept this as part of the process.

But the rock hall seems to be especially prone to these sorts of gaffes, of which the Dave Clark Five is a perfect example. The band, which had 17 top 40 hits between 1964 and 1967, was the corporate version of the Beatles – a little more clean cut, a little more choreographed, a little more commercial. It was OK, and nothing more. In fact, it's not hard to imagine the Dave Clark Five as one of the acts George Harrison is talking about in A Hard Day's Night's "dead grotty" scene: "You turn the sound down on her and say rude things."

One day, perhaps, the hall will let in Linda Ronstadt and Jeff Beck. But we'll still be stuck with the Dave Clark Five.

(Promotional photo of the Dave Clark Five from Epic Records.)










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28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe next year they'll elect in the Bay City Rollers!

Rick Rockwell said...

I echo the sentiments of that first commentator.

This is an especially weak cohort of awardees and this just lessens the honor to those enshrined who deserve the notice.

My biggest gripe is not with the Dave Clark Five, although I completely agree with the criticisms here. My biggest complaint is reserved for Madonna. But of course, those who read this blog know, I have a track record for criticizing her.

Jeff Siegel said...

Obviously, getting inducted now has a lot to do with how many records you sold during your career, who your friends are, and how well liked you are in the business. In one respect, this isn't surprising. The Grammys no longer have anything to do with quality in most of the pop music categories, so why should we expect anything else from the Rock hall? It is, after all, pretty much the same people involved in both, isn't it?

The Carpenters show up on industry-generated top lists all the time, which should give us all an idea of just how pathetic the whole process has become.

Anonymous said...

Actually, with all due respect, I honestly do think Karen Carpenter was a wonderful artist.

Anonymous said...

LetHerIn dot org

Jeff Siegel said...

I've had the Carpenters' discussion may times before. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

Rick Rockwell said...

In case folks missed it, that last anonymous commentator left a URL for a website that advocates to get Melanie (full name: Melanie Safka) into the Hall of Fame.

Look, if you admit Madonna, Karen Carpenter, and Melanie, then the folks in Cleveland should really change the name to the Pop Hall of Fame... or something else.

And as my colleague has pointed out so well, the entire process is corrupted... and for folks like me the idea of the Rock Hall is now really meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Madonna is extraordinary. but only as a marketing professional. to use the word musician and Madonna in the same phrase is laughable.

Anonymous said...

My musical tastes run from Robert Johnson to LedZep, to the Who, all the way to Johnny Cash and George Benson. I love everything Jackson Browne ever made and thing Queen is probably the best of them all. Onward to other genres I even enjoy the DK's and the Sex Pistols and even a bit of rap, finishing with a flourish of Mozart to boot.

I think Madonna is a scourge.

So if my bonafides are now duly established, as a music fan I still find the voice of Karen Carpenter to be one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard. I don't think she should be penalised by the fact that she sang pop songs. If Karen Carpenter is in the same class as Madonna, i guess the Everly Brothers belong there too.

Love you guys when it comes to music but I think you should leave Karen Carpenter out when it comes to giving examples of undeserving Hall of Famers.

I can accept that we agree to disagree but it does kinda shake me to see her mentioned with Madonna. Madonna can't hold a note, Karen Carpenter had one of the most beautiful voices in the history of pop music.

Anonymous said...

Guys, I am not leaving this to prove my point. I think we all have the right to like and dislike whomever we choose.

Just that this whole conversation got me nostalgic and I found the following video. If you grew up in the 60s and 70s, this will provoke some nice memories even if the music makes you puke.

The video starts out with a photo montage, you don't see the live band until about 50 seconds, but it is worth the wait if you ax me....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8DLVs8brfE

Enjoy!

Rick Rockwell said...

To be fair, many bands are Carpenters fans. The result is this Carpenters tribute album. Also, Chrissie Hynde (although hiding a bit behind a band alias) and Urge Overkill cut a Carpenters cover (partially due to Chrissie’s love of both the Carpenters and Urge Overkill) in 1992.

But I think we all agree the Dave Clark Five are out. I haven’t seen any dissenters yet. Some might argue that they were mostly marketing too, just like Madonna.

P.S.: I was playing Zappa & The Mothers’ “Willie the Pimp” when I saw that YouTube URL… now that was a jarring transition!

Jeff Siegel said...

As long as we're being nostalgic for the '70s --
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN8OfPc_aQ8

Anonymous said...

Tricky Dick Nixon, now that was a special moment!

I forget what he did before he got into the White House but after he left in 1960 with Ike. but to keep it on the music theme I think he might have been mixed up in the whole Beach Boys Charles Manson thing...

Anonymous said...

Next year expect The Archies and Valentine (Sly Stallone's brother's singing group).

Anonymous said...

While I agree that a lot of people in the hall should not be there I have to disagree about the DC5. Glad all over,bits and pieces,come home,catch us if you can,all are great records among others,I realize everyones entitled to an opinion,Just think the criticism leveled at the DC5 here is a bit much.

rhenry said...

Just have to add my two cents...

Carpenters... or maybe Karen Carpenter for her voice alone should be inducted into the RRHOF... her influence on many of today's musicians is immeasurable... and they come from all genres... people in pop, country, rock, goth, alt-rock... have named Karen Carpenter as an influence for one reason or another.

Madonna is highly overrated... she at best a below average singer and below average actress... although she is a marketing genius... but when it comes to music I do not listen because one is a marketing genius...

I feel Moody Blues deserve their place in the RRHOF... great band... major influence.

Also Alice Cooper, King Crimson and Chicago all deserve their place in the RRHOF.

maxbob66 said...

Well, I think you are all letting your personal musical tastes get in the way of seeing why DC5 belong in the Hall. Ever heard of the genre Power Pop?! DC5 were the prototype that every power pop band of the next two generations modeled themselves after - whether they want to admit it or not! The big sound - those recordings sounded like they were going going to blow up your speakers - may not seem impressive now, but think in terms of 1964,65 and you have something quite innovative.

I'm not saying that DC5 were one of the greatest bands of the initial British Invasion, but before the Who came along, they were the loudest and heaviest. Did they have better songs than the Beatles? Of course not. But they were an important stepping stone in the shaping of modern day rock and roll - production-wise especially.

What you should be moaning about is the inclusion of Leonard Cohen and Madonna this year. Those choices are truly baffling.

Music Before the Money said...

Hey Jeff,

I have to disagree on this.

You can't go on one YouTube performance. Because live performances at the time (with the awful sound reinforcement) was sketchy at best. In old Beatle concerts you hear mismatched harmonies, out-of-tune guitars and screaming. Why? because most of the time the musicians couldn't hear each other on stage.

You are entitled to your own opinion but I would encourage you to listen to some Dave Clark 5 material and compare it to their contemporaries. You'll see that:
1) Mike Smith had one of the best rock/blues voices of the time.
2) Denny Payton was an incredible sax player (very few Brits were at the time)
3) Although not as good as Alan price of The Animals Mike Smith was also a good keyboard player.

In addition, Dave Clark was the smartest musician in the business . . . he controlled and owned his own music and he and his guys never suffered from crooked managers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last guy You better listen yo the DC5 First and stop complaining about about who gets inducted. Who cares Some of the ones in there suck anyway

Anonymous said...

Most of us "old timers" who lived through those times, remember the impact these guys had. Younger music lovers weren't there and simply don't know. I'm sure that I probably don't fully appreciate the impact of some of the "later" 80s/90sbands. But for the record... here is a partial list of artists who site DC5 as influential in development of their musical careers.

Billy Joel
Bruce Springsteen
Tom Petty
Stevie Van Zandt
Gene Simmons
Joan Jett
The Ramones
Max Weinberg
Paul Shaffer AND..

"When we heard the Dave Clark Five on Ed Sullivan, we decided then and there that we wanted to play Rock and Roll and stopped playing classical music"-Alex and Eddie Van Halen.

Not to mention over 90 million records sold/Six straight sold out US concert tours/A record twelve sold out shows at Carnegie Hall in three days/first R and R band to have their own plane/self managed and produced/negotiated one of the best record deals ever (and in their early twenties at the time)SEVENTEEN top twenty hits in three years--piont is they were a huge and influential act. If all of this isn't good enough for the RRHOF WHAT IS???

Justin said...

whats wrong with leonard cohen?

Anonymous said...

I'll say one thing this guy who runs this blog would not know good music or rock and roll if it was stuck up his ass all the way up neck with 6 inch spikes on the end of it. The dave Clark five should and always be a part of rock and roll history just like KISS and OZZY and Van Halen and Twisted Sister!! I think maybe a visit from Gene Simmons or Dee Snider would stop you from bashing one of the greatest '60s bands like the Dave Clark Five. They where one of the most hard rocking bands of the 20the century you nut job!!! The Dave Clark Five are one the best hard rocking bands in music history to date along with the Beatles and The Monkess and The Beach Boys. This guy Ivory Tower sounds like a country music fan to me LMFAO! got to be! Ivory Tower when you know what your talking about then you can start make off the wall comments like the one you made about the Dave Clark Five till then ask your mom if you could go online and write crap about things you know nothing about!.

Regards
Dave Mustaine
Megadeth

Rick Rockwell said...

Arriving at the end of the comments section of this post is a bit like coming to the aftermath of a beer bong party.

Wouldn’t it be great if the real Dave Mustaine was here to comment? Instead, we get the vapid ramblings of a drunken frat boy with very little taste in music.

But these comments have devolved for quite some time into a discussion filled with inaccuracies and revisionist musical history. First, let’s be clear about the Dave Clark Five. They did not play power pop. The term wasn’t even invented until 1967. They were not the equal to The Beatles or The Who. They may have had a few interesting singles, but they are far less inspirational and influential than their fans would have us think. The Dave Clark Five played bubblegum music to fans who we would call tweens today. They in no way can be classified as “heavy.”

Most of this discussion has moved to this post. And the beginnings of a long answer to this musical debate can be found here.

But if folks do want to continue the debate here, I hope they will play nicely.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea or clue what you're talking about regarding the DC5 (and probably a lot of other things). The DC5 had a hard, raucous, and heavy sound which was unique for its time. Do you think people who lived in the Bronze Age called it the Bronze Age at that time they were living in it? The term "power pop", although not used during the DC5's time, aptly describes the band's sound. They were not and never were a "teeny bopper" band. They were a unique and gritty bona fide rock and roll band.

Gilahi said...

Coming in very late to this party, but I LOVE rock & roll music and I have to agree with some of the responders who disagree with you (although not in such vicious terms). I really like the Dave Clark 5, but I think that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame started on a downhill slide the second they inducted Prince. Oh my God. Madonna was a capper. I'm really glad that I got to visit the place before either of those two made it in. I'd hate to have either of them on my T-shirt that contains the list of inductees.

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal about DC5 being inducted? Anybody that has put out more than one record after 20 years will eventually be considered. I say let the Sex Clark Five in as well.

darkblack said...

Frankly, the RRHOF has been a corporate construct from its inception, acting (as the Grammys do) as an 'attaboy' for the biggest traffic builders over time.
Artistic relevance and street credibility factor very slightly into the board's decision making process for who is considered, unless a tastemaking sop is called for...And thus, the DC5 (who were, in the greater scheme of the British invasion era, a pleasant yet strictly commercial pop entity incapable of evolution beyond their original parameters, a la Herman's Hermits) was most appropriate for induction.

Anonymous said...

scAny band that could go neck and neck with the Beatles for as long as the 5 did certainly belong in the Hall of Fame. The 5 were there BEFORE the Stones, and at the time, the Beatles ONLY steady competition.
PERIOD.

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