An almost forgotten Group
Over the years, so many musicians have been taken advantage of by very unscrupulous manager’s and recording companies, mainly due to lack of knowledge in the industry. I think Rosie Hamlin, is a great example (Rosie & the Originals).
But Dave Clark was the first Artist that I can remember who took care of business and the music.
This would be one of my favourite British Groups. This was the second group to come over after the Beatles.
No matter what you thought of Dave Clark, he was one of the first “smart” and talented musician’s who took care of both the music and business.
Dave formed the DC-5 in 1959 and was able to put together a number of business deals that allowed him to produce the band’s recordings and have total control over the recording Master tapes.
So many musician’s before that had been taken advantage of by shrewd, dishonest and devious recording people.
From Left to Right:
- Michael Smith (Lead Vocals and Keyboards) Born December 1943 / Died February 2008
- Lenny Davidson (Lead Guitar, Acoustic guitar, vocals) Born May 1942
- Dennis Peyton (Tenor – Baritone Saxes, Acoustic guitar, vocals) Born August 1943 / Died December 2006
- Rick Huxley (Bass, Acoustic guitar, vocals) Born August 1940
- Dave Clark (Drums, vocals) December 1939
1. Glad all Over/ Epic 9656/ March 1964/ #6
2. Bits and Pieces/ Epic 9671/ April 1964/ #4
3. Do you Love Me/ Epic 9678/ May 1964/ #11
4. Can’t you see that’s she’s Mine (Gary’s favourite)/ Epic 9692/ June 1964/ #4
5. Because/ Epic 9704/ August 1964/ #3
6. Everybody Knows (I still love You)/ Epic 9722/ October 1964/ #13
7. Any Way you Want it/ Epic 9739/ December 1964/ #14
9. Reelin’ and Rockin’/ Epic 9786/ May 1965/ #23
10. I Like it Like That/ Epic 9811/ July 1965/ #7
11. Catch Us if You Can/ Epic 9833/September 1965/ #4
12. Over and Over/ Epic 9863/ November 1965/ #1
13. Try to Hard/ Epic 10004/ April 66/ #1
14. You’ve Got what it Takes/ Epic 10144/ March 1967/ #7
Yes, there are other hits. I have listed most, but not all of them. This is a group that some people have forgotten about, yet over a brief 3 year period they sold over 50 million records and charted 30 songs. I don’t care who you are, that’s a significant Band.
Dave Clark, as a teen, had a passion for football and in 1957 he wanted to raise some money for his youth club football team. To do this he decided to form a band, and he bought a set of drums and learned how to “play” them.
The band started out as a skiffle group and about a year later, they added Stan Saxon, a North London singer. The line up at that time included Chris Walls, Mick Ryan and Dave Clark.
When Chris and Mick ultimately left the band, Dave Clark teamed up with a young singer-songwriter/pianist named Mike Smith, Dennis Payton, Rick Huxley and Lenny Davidson to form a new group, “The Dave Clark Five” (DC5) to play locally in Tottenham, a suburb just north of London.
They signed a recording contract with Ember / Pye in 1962, and their first release was an instrumental called “Chaquita” which made no impact, but their second release, a cover of The Contours song “Do You Love Me” did make the lower reaches of the charts in the autumn of 1963.
Both the DC5 and “Brian Poole & the Tremeloes” released “Do You Love Me” at the same time, with The Tremeloes version rising higher on the British record charts. This made a major impression on the band, and they decided to record their own material.
Here is where the business mind of Dave Clark started to rock. He included in the group’s employment agreement that he would get writing credit on all their compositions and he would also hold ownership of all the DC5 masters (finished recordings).
[When you think of it, this was a brilliant move on Clark’s part. In an age when all that mattered to most young musicians was to get recognition and maybe even “fame” (whatever that is), the crafting of these agreements was very clever, and Clark has continued to receive residual income for years, accordingly.]
The “Clark-Smith” composition (written by Mike Smith) “Glad All Over” was released in late 1963 and by January 1964 was #1 on the British Pop Charts, replacing the Beatles ” I Want To Hold Your Hand” which had been #1 for six weeks. “Glad All Over” became one of the most recognizable Beat Era hits and still enjoys a major amount of air play today.
Topping the Beatles brought some major press for the group and they took advantage of this with the release of their next single, “Bits and Pieces” which reached #2 on the British Charts.
The DC5 were distinguished from their British contemporaries by their larger-than-life production, Clark’s loud stomping drum sound, and Mike Smith’s powerful vocals. For their studio recordings, drumming was done by Bobby Graham, a well known English session drummer.
Though accused by critics as lacking finesse and being hipless, they had a solid ear for great hook melodies and harmonies, and wrote much of their early material, the best of which has endured quite well.
The Dave Clark Five took the U.S. by storm, spearheading what was to become known as “The British Invasion”. A record 13 appearances (for a British Beat Group) on the Ed Sullivan Show along with 6 tours and 14 Top 20 hits in three years, established the DC5 as one of the best known British Bands. One of their tours included an amazing 4 shows at Carnegie Hall in 2 days.
Six more records from the group were released in 1964 that reached the top fifteen in the U.S., including the top ten songs “Bits and Pieces” (#4), “Can’t You See That She’s Mine” (#4) and “Because” (#3). Their hot streak continued the following year with “I Like It Like That” (#7), “Catch Us If You Can” (#4) and their sole U.S. #1, “Over and Over” (which had been released earlier by Bobby Day as the flip side of his hit, “Rockin’ Robin“).
The Beatles had a hit film with A Hard Day’s Night and Dave Clark answered it with Having a Wild Weekend, a 1965 film that was to be the directorial debut of John Boorman (who would later direct a number of major motion pictures including Deliverance and Exorcist II).
1966 saw The DC5 reach the U.S. top 40 with “At The Scene” (#18), “Try Too Hard” (#12) and “Please Tell Me Why” (#28). There were more hits in 1967, including a cover of Marv Johnson’s “You Got What It Takes” (#7), which would prove to be their last top ten entry in the U.S. charts and their final top 40 hit, “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby” (#38).
While keeping up with his still very popular band, Dave Clark turned his attention to directing and producing. In 1968 he made a very successful television production in the UK titled “Hold On, It’s The Dave Clark Five“.
By the late 1970’s, Clark would go on to purchase the rights to the UK television series “Ready Steady Go!”, a show that featured all of the major recording artists of the day from both sides of the Atlantic. [Coincidentally, there seems to be a parallel here with another Clark (Dick Clark) who was very successful in U.S. TV production with a show called “American Bandstand“.]
Times were changing in the music business. Psychedelia was all the rage in the late 60’s, but the Dave Clark Five didn’t get on that bandwagon and their popularity started to wane in the U.S. But even without resorting to some of those contemporary modern recording techniques, they still produced solid top ten songs in the UK including “Everybody Knows“, “Red Balloon“, and “Everybody Get Together“. The early 70’s saw them chart with the first Maxi-Single, “Good Old Rock and Roll” (released in 1969), but by that time the group had disbanded.
Dave Clark and Mike Smith teamed up for a while with Eric Ford, Alan Parker and Madeline Bell in a new group called “Dave Clark and Friends“. During this time Clark had also been attending attending drama school. DC&F folded around 1973.
Mike Smith continued in the music business, writing commercial jingles and producing other artists.
Lenny Davidson became a guitar teacher in Hertfordshire and ran a business that services church organs.
Rick Huxley went to work for the Vox musical instrument company before opening Musical Equipment Ltd in Camberwell, and then turned to electrical wholesaling.
Dennis Payton went into the real estate business and continued to play music part time.
Dave Clark still had his flair for business. In 1977 he compiled an album titled “Thumping Great Hits” and it reached #7 on the UK charts, at a time when punk rock was at the height of its popularity in that part of the world.
In 1983 Clarke produced a video compilation cassette from the Ready Steady Go! tapes and this was on the best sellers chart for six months, peaking at #1. He went on to do more of these videos and by 1985 these compilations would draw large numbers of viewers to British television.
Dave became the Executive Producer of a London stage musical titled “Time”, starring Cliff Richard, and later David Cassidy, that was mildly successful in 1986.
In 1993, Clark had all the band’s original singles re-mastered and released them on a compact disc called “Glad All Over Again“.
Mike Smith went on to ultimately form a new group called “Mike Smith’s Rock Engine” and continued to tour in both the UK and the US. Unfortunately, tragedy struck Smith on October 15th, 2003, when he suffered an accident at his home in Spain, which affected his spinal chord. He became paralyzed from the waist down with no movement in his right arm and limited mobility in his left. Steve Van Zandt of the E Street Band and Paul Shaffer of The Late Show with David Letterman, organized a benefit concert in New York on Mike’s behalf.
On December 17, 2006, saxophonist Dennis Payton died of cancer at the age of 63. His death came just weeks after it was announced that the Dave Clark Five had been nominated for induction to the 2007 US Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. In a statement, Dave Clark called Payton “a very dear friend who I’ve known since we were teenagers”. He went on to say “Denis was extremely brave and not afraid of death. He had an amazing philosophy on life and will be greatly missed by me and all who knew him.” Clark said his former bandmate had been “thrilled” by the citation. “He said, ‘I know I won’t be around, but it was an amazing part of my life that I am very proud of.'”
Rock and Roll fans suffered another terrible loss on February 28th, 2008 when Mike Smith died of pneumonia at Stoke Mandeville Hospital outside of London, less than two weeks before the band was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was 64.