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.)
Dave Clark Five
Dave Clark 5
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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