Friday, March 07, 2008

The Dave Clark Five's Mike Smith: R. I. P.

The Dave Clark Five, from the Tottenham section of London, England, almost immediately followed The Beatles over to America in 1964 and briefly challenged them for the rock 'n roll throne that the mop tops had just recently claimed for themselves. I still remember a newspaper headline I saw when "Glad All Over" knocked "I Want to Hold Your Hand" out of the top spot on the charts. It read: "Tottenham sound crushes The Beatles." By 1967 the DC5 charted seventeen top 40 hits before disappearing from the music scene and disbanding in 1970. According to the All Music Guide they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show more than any other British act.

In addition to "Glad All Over" British Invasion fans will remember many of their other boisterous rockers such as "Bits and Pieces," "Catch Us If You Can," "Over and Over," "You’ve Got What It Takes," "Can’t You See That She’s Mine," and a whole lot more. Their ballads included "Because" and "Come Home."

It’s a sad event that makes me write about the Dave Clark Five at this time. The DC5 were a loud stomping band with an excellent and very soulful lead singer named Mike Smith. Smith passed away on February 28, 2008, less than two weeks before he and the band were to be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. He died of complications he suffered from a spinal cord injury after a fall in 2003 that left him paralyzed below the ribs. Special arrangements were being implemented to transport him to America for the induction ceremonies.

Smith's passing is made even sadder because the band should have been inducted into the Hall last year. The only reason they weren’t is because Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner, the self-appointed head of the Rock Hall, interceded to make sure that Grandmaster Flash was inducted instead. On the final ballot the DC5 beat out the rapper by a mere five votes but Wenner used a technicality that allowed an earlier ballot to stand as the official tally causing Clark, Smith, and the band to wait another year. The Hall only allows five new members annually, and despite pressure put on Wenner to admit six acts last year, he refused, so the DC5 were left out in the cold. If Wenner hadn’t participated in what some people considered vote tampering Smith would have been alive to celebrate the group’s induction in 2007. In my opinion even last year was too late for The Dave Clark Five. They should have been voted into the Hall many years ago.

For a good sampling of their music listen to The DC5’s jukebox that is loaded with the band’s music.

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