The Dave Clark Five

  • British rock band formed in 1958 from Tottenham England. The classic lineup consisted of Dave Clark (vocals, drums), Mike Smith (lead vocals, keyboards), Lenny Davidson (backing vocals, guitars), Rick Huxley (backing vocals, bass guitar), and Denis Payton (backing vocals, saxophones, harmonica, rhythm guitar). All members contributed to songwriting, with Clark co-writing songs with his bandmates.
  • Clark left school at the age of 15 to become a stuntman in films. In his late teens, he bought a drum set and taught himself how to play. He formed a band, hoping to earn money in performances so that he could fund the travel to the Netherlands for his football team. By 1958, they found themselves the backing musicians for London vocalist Stan Saxon. Huxley was part of the original lineup. Over the next several years, several band members left, and by 1962 the classic lineup was in place. Saxon departed, and the remaining group called themselves the Dave Clark Five, or the DC5.
  • They established a style that was called the Tottenham sound – in response to what the Mersey Beat sound that the Beatles were producing in Liverpool. The sound was loud and forceful, featuring a prominent drum beat, belting vocals and a saxophone to complement the melodies. They were signed to a recording contract and several singles were released in 1962 and 1963. In 1964  they released their debut albums, Glad All Over (in the U.S.) and A Session With the Dave Clark Five (in the UK). It was their breakthrough – the single Glad All Over topped the British charts and reached #6 on the Hot 100, and Bits and Pieces peaked at #2 and #4 respectively.
  • Their success led to a flurry of album releases – 13 albums were released in the U.S. from 1964 to 1967, with 17 singles reaching the top 40 of the Hot 100 chart. Songs that reached the top five included Can’t You See That She’s Mine, Because, Catch Us If You Can, and Over and Over (which reached #1).
  • The DC5 was the first British invasion band to find success in the U.S. after the Beatles. They were the second British band to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, and they performed on the show a total of 18 times, more than any other British musical act.
  • Clark managed the band’s affairs and produced their recordings, retaining control of their finances. He negotiated a royalty rate that was much higher than what was customary at the time, and he owned the rights to all of the group’s songs.
  • By 1968, the Dave Clark 5 had lost their appeal to music fans in the U.S., though they continued to have modest success in the UK. Their ten singles released from 1968 onward failed to chart in the Hot 100, and by 1970 they called it quits. Clark went on to set up a media company, directing and producing television programs. In 1986, he wrote a science-fiction stage musical titled Time that played on London’s West End for two years.
  • The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. While they did not have the lasting impact of other British invasion groups, they were a key part of that era of rock and roll in America. Watch the boys perform Glad All Over – very British invasion-looking here.

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