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For many generations, the passing of Dick Clark, who died of a massive heart attack on Wednesday morning, represents the end of an annual New Year’s Eve tradition. But before Clark helped Americans rock in the new year, he helped bring rock and roll to America.
Clark’s American Bandstand came at a time of monumental shifts in culture and musical tastes, and the host’s show was part of that tectonic change. Launched in 1952, Clark began hosting the show in 1956 (after its original host, Bob Horn, was dismissed following an arrest for driving under the influence) and quickly began bringing in the hottest acts in music.
Here are some iconic moments from the show’s history, which lasted until 1989.
Chubby Checker performs “The Twist,” launches a dance craze. April 29, 1959
The Jackson Five make their national TV debut on February 21, 1970
Jerry Lee Lewis performed “Great Balls of Fire” on October 24, 1957
Chuck Berry appeared on the show on November 8, 1957. He would later mention American Bandstand in his song “Sweet Little Sixteen.”
Pink Floyd performs on November 6, 1967
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