DETROIT (WWJ) – Motown is mourning the lost of Dick Clark, longtime host of “American Bandstand” — a show on which many Detroit acts got their start.
This includes Martha Reeves, who appeared on Bandstand with her group The Vandellas, more than once. She spoke with WWJ Newsradio 950 following Clark’s death on Wednesday.
“He was a gentleman, a kind man, he sing. He used to sing when he talked, so you always loved to hear him announce you,” said Reeves.
Reeves said she and the Vandellas appeared on Bandstand the first time in 1964.
“It gave us nationwide recognition and people really thought that you had achieved your success when you did Dick Clark’s ‘American Bandstand.’
“We got such a, a rousing response that (Clark) said ‘Well sing it again, girls!’ and we were the first and only act on ‘American Bandstand’ to do an encore. Some things I remembered and I’ll always remember that,” Reeves said.
Billy Wilson, President of the Motown Alumni Association, said Clark was a “visionary’s visionary.”
“He took advantage of the circumstances that he had during his early years, and helped those that were less fortunate to be seen in living rooms all over America … he broke barriers that were thought to be unbreakable. He was instrumental in turning the music of Black artist that was considered “race music”, into a standard form of music respected around the world,” said Wilson.
An iconic TV and radio personality, Clark died Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at age 82.
Affectionately known as “America’s oldest teenager” for his youthful looks and enthusiastic attitude, he brought music to millions of teenagers in the 1950s without alienating their parents. He suffered a significant stroke in 2004 that took him largely out of the public eye and forced him to miss hosting “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” for the first time since it began in 1972.