“I don’t make culture, I sell it” Dick Clark once remarked. Indeed, the man who reigned as host of American Bandstand for nearly four decades may not have invented rock ‘n’ roll, but he sold it to the American public better than anyone before or since. Before Clark, rock ‘n’ roll was the step child of radio–which took to playing records as a cost-saving measure after television siphoned off radios most lucrative sponsors. But it was network television–and specifically Clarks Bandstand–that ultimately legitimized what was then viewed by most adults as vulgar, low-class music, broadcasting a sanitized vision of rock ‘n’ roll straight into Americas living rooms five afternoons a week.
Author: John A. Jackson
Date of completion: 1968