Documentary celebrates Britpop invasion band Dave Clark Five
In this Oct. 19, 1965 file photo, Dave Clark, gives a thumb's up sitting in a Bentley Continental in London. (AP Photo, file)
Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, April 8, 2014 10:13AM EDT
LOS ANGELES -- There was more to the 1960s British invasion than the Beatles, as known by any fan of "Catch Us If You Can" or "Because" or -- get ready to shimmy -- "Glad All Over."
The hit tunes were among those recorded by another influential U.K. band that gets its due in "The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over," a PBS documentary airing Tuesday (check local listings).
The film includes interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Steven Van Zandt and other impressive musicians who cite the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band and Clark, its drummer-manager, as influences.
It's such an outpouring of praise that an embarrassed Clark nearly took his producer credit off the project. Friends talked him out of it, just as they had talked him into doing the documentary, he said.
The band's admirers "wouldn't say it if they didn't mean it," Clark recalls being reassured.
He had no such hesitation in ending the Dave Clark Five's short but stellar run when he called time and his bandmates agreed. He was left with a wealth of memories.
"I wouldn't have missed it for the world," said Clark. At 71, he's thoughtful and soft-spoken but still exudes a rocker's raffish air with his dark hair, beard and grandly arched eyebrows.
The Beatles beat Clark's band to "The Ed Sullivan Show" by two weeks in 1964, but the DC5 -- its shorthand name -- racked up 18 appearances with the influential Sullivan, more than any other rock, pop or R&B artist.
The group released 15 consecutive top 20 U.S. singles in a two-year period, second only to the Beatles.
Fame came swiftly to the DC5. In March 1964, before appearing on Sullivan's show, "we were really unknown," Clark said. Within eight weeks, including a break to fulfil an agreed-upon English tour, they were selling out American stadiums.
Although they and the Beatles were cast as England's Tottenham-versus-Liverpool civic rivals, it was just a media myth, Clark said: "Paul McCartney talks about it in the documentary. There was no rivalry. We were mates."
They were also different bands with their own character. While the Beatles consisted of three guitarists and a drummer, the Dave Clark Five included a saxophone and keyboard and had a more driving sound -- this in contrast to the group's clean-cut look created by wardrobes that included natty jackets and white turtlenecks.
Clark, in fact, was dismayed when Sullivan told his huge audience during one show that the DC5 band members were the kind of young men that "every American mother" would love to have in her home.
"I thought, 'Well, that's blown our rock 'n' rock career straight away. But it didn't," Clark said of the band that included Lenny Davidson, Mike Smith, Rick Huxley and Denis Payton. (Only Clark and Davidson survive.)
What ended the DC5's reign in 1970 was the realization that, after playing concerts in every U.S. state and a number of countries, the experience of moving endlessly from hotel rooms to stadiums had become "routine," Clark said.
Being onstage, however, never did.
"That was the ultimate high, playing live. You feel like the Pied Piper, or a conductor, knowing how to take an audience up or bring them down," he said. "You were champion of the world for that one or two hours of the day."
The band went out on a high note, with top 10 U.K. releases, and there were remarkable experiences to come for Clark. Among other ventures, he founded a media company and co-created a hit stage musical, "Time," that included a holographic performance by Laurence Olivier recorded at the end of his career.
"One of the biggest inspirations of my life," Clark said of the famed British actor. "You'd think that somebody that big wouldn't want to work with a rock and roller from Tottenham. We had a great, great rapport."