Basement Party 2

Basement Party 2

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dick and Levon

Sorry for the recent paucity of posts lately. My free time has been a bit scarce lately, for various reasons. Fear not, I have some cool ideas jotted down and plan on getting to them when the time is available. However, I did feel it incumbent upon myself to post short tributes to America's oldest teenager Dick Clark and singer/drummer Levon Helms, who both passed away this week.

Dick Clark
Dick is best known for being the host of American Bandstand. While he still hosted the show until I was 9 years old, I never saw it as a child. I do remember him being omnipresent in my early years though, hosting the $25,000 Pyramid and TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, not to mention ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve. When I was in high school I saw reruns of American Bandstand on VH1. The episodes were plucked from the late '70s and early '80s, and featured either disco dancing or new wave acts lip syncing their latest hits.

I have a few clips to showcase Dick in action with various rock legends, the first of which is a personal favorite as it shows him interviewing the Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd in 1968 after a "performance" (Syd couldn't be bothered to convincingly lip-sync). I love the contrast of the button-downed showmanship of Dick Clark vs. the scruffy, Carnaby street style of the Floyd:

The next clip is from roughly 13 years later, with Dick interviewing the Go Gos. He winds up getting their names confused, perhaps due to being transfixed by their beauty. I of course look for any excuse to showcase the lovely Jane Wiedlin...I had my hair cut by a girl who looked just like her recently. Best haircut EVER:

Levon Helm
I first heard a song by the Band on a commercial back in the early '90s...I can't remember what the product was, maybe beer? The commercial featured perhaps their best known song, "The Weight," and to me the harmonies and honky tonk piano sounded as close to what music in the old west must have sounded like as I could imagine. Over the subsequent years I heard more songs by them and became impressed with their talent, especially drummer/singer Levon Helms. To drum and sing at the same time takes some skills, and this guy had them to spare. The Band (along with CCR) ushered in the era of roots rock, which provided a nice counterpoint to the psychedelic experimentation going on elsewhere in music at that time.

This clip is of the swampy, funky, "Up On Cripple Creek," as performed in the concert film "The Last Waltz" in 1976:

 Two more go to Rock and Roll Heaven...I'm afraid to ask who's next?


  1. Good Pink Floyd video, I've only seen a clip from it on a Syd Barrett documentary I recorded off VH1 back in the K-Zoo days. He looked so crazy!!

    Never got into the Band, but that song was alright.

    Who's next to join the Rock N' Roll Heaven club? Unfortunately, my money is on Tony Iommi. Dude's going through some shit...

  2. Maybe the next one will be Keith Richard's 9th and final death. The man can't be killed by conventional means.