Home / Happy New Year: Dick Clark Is Still The Anti-Christ

Happy New Year: Dick Clark Is Still The Anti-Christ

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I’m on record with rock star Ian Hunter. He heard me say it, and he said that he hadn’t heard anything quite so right that night. Dick Clark is the anti-Christ. He tried to show himself as this innocent hip guy, but he was never really young and never really cool. Dick Clark would hire Adolph Hitler to host a game show called “Guess the Jew” if he was even somewhat convinced that he would make money on it in the long run. He is the squarest, fakest, slimiest presence in the world today, and he has been for over 50 years now. Here’s Dick’s story. He’s a lot like Hamlet’s murderous Uncle.

Once there was a DJ who truly understood and loved music. His name was Alan Freed. Ian Hunter used Freed’s voice as a tribute for the beginning of the original recording of that Drew Carey favorite, “Cleveland Rocks.” Supposedly, Freed coined the term rock and roll, although my guess is that Freed just started telling people that and nobody ever stopped to correct him.

Freed wasn’t exactly Mr. Clean. He took money for playing certain songs on his radio shows and he drank. The first was a common practice of the day, and the second was almost a rock and roll necessity. Nevertheless, he loved and supported music made by Black performers. Back in those days they had maggots like Pat Boone and the Crew Cuts who would record really white versions of tunes by Little Richard, Fats Domino, and many others. Most radio stations would play the sterile white version to the detriment of the exciting, talented Black creators of the day.

I heartily recommend that all of you listen to Pat Boone’s version of “Tutti Fruitti.” It remains today what it was back in the mid-'50s when he recorded it — the single funniest thing recorded since the invention of reproduced sound. Alan Freed was the "Jesus" of rock and roll. Dick Clark was his "Judas."

Eventually, largely because of Freed, the real music started to seep through. This scared the living crap out of "the man." What happened was that real rock and roll fought the law, and the law won. Clark did his best to help them, and make as much money off of it as he could.

You see Dick Clark was Herman from Herman’s Hermits and Alan Freed was Keith Richards. They both went before Congress accused of taking money for playing certain records. They called it payola. Freed was the number one target. It was almost like the Congress enforced a law no one had ever enforced before just to get him. Freed stood up for himself and they crippled him. Dick Clark smiled, assured Congress that he was the whitest man alive, and emerged as the man’s substitute for Alan Freed.

That was only "the man’s" first shot. Over the next few years or so they drafted Elvis, they killed Buddy Holly, they tossed Chuck Berry in jail, and scared Little Richard back into the church. Dick Clark replaced them with white teen idols like Fabian, Bobby Rydell, and Frankie Avalon. The establishment had set off a nuclear bomb on rock and roll and Dick Clark was the cockroach that survived and prospered.

On the very first day of American Bandstand, Dick Clark himself demanded that all artists lip sync on his program. He didn’t believe that the kids loved the music; he felt that the kids loved the record. The amount of live performances he could have preserved and inspired is achingly enormous.

Dick will try to tell you that he loves rock and roll, but what he really likes are ways to sell a bunch of crap to teenagers. You don’t hear him reminiscing about Chuck Berry and Little Richard. It’s always Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Andy Gibb, and whatever other noxious thing he promoted instead of supporting talented acts with something to say.

Dick Clark is such a piece of refuse that he will try to convince you that his game show, The $64,000 Pyramid was the intellectual equivalent and as important to broadcasting as Masterpiece Theater. There is no television show Dick Clark won’t be a part of if it can earn him a little more money. He's already almost as rich as Bill Gates but time and again he still needed to destroy and beat into the ground anything fun in modern society. What Dick will do is just what he learned from the ‘50s. He takes interesting ideas and whitens them up so he can ride a couple millions off the coattails of the real thing.

Am I making this up? He followed Who Wants to be a Millionaire seconds later with the appropriately titled Greed. He was upset that his pop playthings never got awards at the Grammy's, so he made his own show, The American Music Awards and based them not on quality but on whatever the right demographic he wanted liked.

Dick Clark’s whole career was predicated on destroying what is holy and innovative in our culture for as much money as he could get, and he should have been strung up for it. He didn't forever look amazingly 25. He just had the same moral IQ.

Final Proof (As If I Needed Some): Rock and Roll History, Part 17

Dick Clark. You know I hate him and that you should too. Anyone else ever see the E! Show where they rank the top 25 things about Elvis? Number one was the song "Hound Dog." Now Elvis did two very famous television performances of the song "Hound Dog."

The first was just unreal. Elvis really went wild. He stretched the song out for an extra three minutes of hip-grinding madness. The girls were just going bonkers. Well, that just made the whole nation completely insane. Elvis is lewd. Elvis is dirty. Ban Elvis. Film Elvis only from the waist up.

Elvis’ next appearance was on the Steve Allen Show. Steve Allen was very vocal about his hate for rock and roll back then and he decided to strike back at Elvis. I’m not sure why Elvis’ manager let it happen (Col. Tom Parker mistake number #4000) but Steve Allen made Elvis dress up in a white tuxedo and sing to a basset hound. Elvis couldn’t dance in the tails so he did his best to laugh it off and sang to the dog despite his likely anger and embarrassment.

So how do I know for sure that Dick Clark hates real rock and roll?

“When I think of Elvis singing "Hound Dog," I always remember him on the Steve Allen Show in that white tuxedo.”

Nice choice, Dick.

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About Brad Laidman

  • Nancy

    Fascinating piece. Thanks for writing this!

  • thank you

  • My wife won’t enjoy reading this. You just crapped all over a childhood memory of hers. But some false messiah once muttered, “the truth will set you free.”

    Let’s just take one analogy of your article, Brad, and re-rig it just a bit. It’s more accurate, and makes me feel lots better.

    Freed was the Spanish Jew – Dick Clark was Torquemada.

    Anti-christ is too good for the bastard….

  • MajorHart

    Dick Clark is a great person and performer – and he has a jewish wife.

    I’ve watched his shows since the late 1950’s and he is excellent in every say.

    You want to tear down a phony. Go after Pat Boone – the foaming at the mouth crazy.

    Dick Clark is GREAT!

  • When Pat Boone went into the studio to recode Tutti Fruiti he said I don’t get this song – his producers said do it anyway it will be a hit – that producer wasn’t Dick Clark, but it might as well have been – Clark had his tentacles all over the music business and in every case he made dollars by supporting his whitewashed crap.

    Pat Boone was the drug user – Clark was the kingpin and you know who the authorities really should be arresting.

  • Calm down and breathe. You are so all over the place this piece is nonsensical. You make a bunch of analogies, but then don’t back them up. Every time you cast Clark as someone (anti-Christ, Hamlet’s Uncle, Herman, Judas) you never prove your point.

    Are you really claiming “the man” killed Buddy Holly? The 9/11 Truthers find that unbelievable.

    How exactly did Clark whiten up “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and how is a game show holy?

    All you’ve shown is that he’s a calculating businessman. The country’s full of them.

  • Everyone hip knows the man killed Buddy.

    Game shows aren’t holy (although Dick acted like pyramid was.

    The point is that like with Greed every time something of quality emerges he pumps out a pale white imitation of it.

    Don’t mistake some elements of humor for me not being serious.

    He didn’t kill Alan Freed himself, but read about the way his finances at the time and the way he handled the payola situation.

    Sure, there are a lot of calculating businessmen – most of them were scum.

    Behind every great fortune there is a great crime.

  • Buzz in Northridge, California

    Dick Clark was never about the music. His insisting on lip syncing proves beyond a doubt that he never got it.

  • I like Dick Clark. Though I wish he wouldn’t try and talk on national tv.

  • You see Dick Clark was Herman from Herman’s Hermits

    There is no ‘herman’ in Hermans Hermits. The lead singer was Peter Noone. And if you write them off, as you just did, you’ve missed the entire subversive element of their work and forgotten the value of music which is just fun.


  • I wasn’t referring to Noone – the real Herman was the guy who put together that band to ride the post Beatles surf. Hey, I enjoy Mrs Brown as much as the next guy, but if you think their music was subversive you really need to get out more.

  • Yeah, c’mon Dave, if Herman’s Hermits had a subversive side, I want to hear about it. Tell us more…

  • Gary

    You are DEAD ON, Brad!
    I HATE Dick Clark. I wouldn’t say he ‘killed’ Buddy Holly, but he sure did help kill rock & roll! As did the Beatles with that lame LP Sgt. Pepper!
    Clark didn’t do anything unless he could make a buck. When he put out those rotten BEST OF BANDSTAND tapes a few years back, what did he put on there? Fabian, Four Seasons, Chubby Checker, Paul Anka……why didn’t he put on some rock & roll with GUTS, with FEELING….Chuck Berry, Dale Hawkins, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Animals….don’t tell me the footage doesn’t exist because I KNOW they do! Now that Clarkie has sold his outfit to Dan Snyder, MAYBE Snyder will put some product out, but from what I understand about this guy, he won’t. What a waste. Then sell the damn films and tapes to the fans who want them!
    It’s because of idiots like Clark and Snyder that bootleggers exist. I’ll continue giving them my money.

  • Oz88

    This is a good article except for the fact that you took this from Bill Hicks’ comedy routine of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Original thought is no longer present in today’s society I am convinced.

  • brad laidman

    I’m a big Hicks fan but I’ve always thought this – not sure if I came up with this – I’m aware of his routine – but I’ve always agreed even before I heard him label Dick this way

  • Janice Clay

    This whole article is a bit much. As someone said he was a calculating businessman just like many others in this country. I think the writer of this article has an agenda.

  • Paul B.

    Rest In Peace, Dick Clark. You left quite a legacy. Prayers for you and your family.

  • Color Pedant

    Just watched those two performances of Hound Dog. The tuxedo that Elvis wore on the Steve Allen Show was black. He wore a white jacket on Milton Berle’s show.

  • brad laidman

    You’re right but i think you see my point

  • diegostyle

    hmm, isnt the anti-christ suppose to reveal himself after the Lord comes back for his church.

  • I missed a memo somewhere, I thought Obama was the antichrist.

  • Kazwell

    He admitted he didn’t think the Beatles were very talented when he first heard them. Proof he had no ear for music.

  • Angelo

    To bolster the point, in the late ’70’, early ’80’s when Don Cornelius was putting “Soul Train” on the map, Dick Clark tried to come up with his own version. Well, it was boycotted as a cheap imitation and Don Cornelius threatened to sue Dick Clark. Clark and ABC shut the show and the rest is history.

  • Ian

    wow…arrogant much, Mr. Laidman? sheesh.