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Dave Clark Five: Did They Influence the '60s as Much as the Beatles?

Image: Dave Clark Five: Did They Influence the '60s as Much as the Beatles? From left: Mike Smith, Lenny Davidson, Denis Payton, Rick Huxley, and Dave Clark.

Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 07:09 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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The Dave Clark Five may not be remembered the same way as the Beatles, but the British band is remembered in a PBS documentary as being in the first wave of what was called the British Invasion of American music in the 1960s.

Filled with interviews from such of music luminaries as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Stevie Wonder and Gene Simmons, the documentary that aired Tuesday (and repeats on Friday) showed the band influencing the 1960s as much as the Beatles, according to PBS.

"The Dave Clark Five were the first English group to tour America (in May 1964), thus spearheading the British Invasion," according to PBS. "The band achieved a record-breaking 15 consecutive Top 20 U.S. hit singles within a two-year period — more than any other group in the world except the Beatles."

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While the Beatles were the first of the British Invasion bands to appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show," the Dave Clark Five appeared on the show a record-breaking 18 times, far more than The Beatles.

"Our band was different," Dave Clark told the New York Daily News for a story published Tuesday. "We were still playing rock and roll, but we had an entirely different sound: just one guitar, but an organ and a saxophone."

While many American musicians counted the Dave Clark Five as influences, Clark told the Daily News that it was American bands that had the most effect on them.

"We couldn't get enough of American rock and roll," said Clark. "We'd hear it when we played American air bases in the U.K. One of the reasons I wanted a sax in the band was that I loved Fats Domino's 'Blueberry Hill.'"

The documentary "The Dave Clark Five and Beyond – Glad All Over," which will repeat on Friday on PBS, features footage of the band's performances on the "Ed Sullivan Show."

Some things the band did failed to reach the same height of its British rivals. Variety's Steve Chagollan wrote that its 1965 film "Catch Us If You Can" did not find the same success as The Beatles' 1964 hit "A Hard Days Night."

"If the Beatles, the Stones and the Who went on to far greater heights musically, it's because their sound evolved with each album, while the DC5 seemed to be stuck in a '60s pop-rock time warp, with only their fashion changing with the times," Chagollan wrote.

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