We're Goin' Hoppin'!
they'll be rockin' on Bandstand
At 3 p.m. on Monday, August 5,
― over 54 years ago
― exactly 30 days before we entered
Oceanside High School as brand new sophomores, "American Bandstand"
premiered nationally on the ABC-TV network . More so than any other network show
before, it was produced especially for us, then the high school youth of America.
For more Bandstand
photos, go to
its early days, when we were part of its target audience, Bandstand made teen idols out of
Philadelphia street kids, and it made national celebrities out of regular high school kids just like
us. Arlene Sullivan and Kenny Rossi,
and Bob Clayton
― they were not our classmates, but they just as well might have
been. So many of us watched them dancing and rating the records for 90
minutes every afternoon, copied their
moves and felt that we knew them ― and the other "regulars," too.
Bandstand showcased our favorite
rock 'n' roll
performers (with two notable exceptions*)
― right in our own living rooms
― lip-synching to their latest hit (or
would-be hit) records. In fact, it soon became quite common for
songwriters to mention Bandstand in their lyrics just to get their records
played on the show.
she tunes into Bandstand every day
To watch the kids a-dancin' 'cross the USA"
Bobby Darin, 1958
By spinning those records from his
Philadelphia base, in the tiny studios of WFIL at 46th and Market, clean-cut
Dick Clark became a virtual pied piper to the American teenager of the late
1950s. As he tried to
smooth over rock 'n' roll's rough edges and clean up its tarnished image, Bandstand
quickly became one of
the most memorable icons of our music and our time in high school and
nothing less than an American cultural institution ― and
it was created just for us!
got a good beat, and you can dance to it.
I give it a 98 [www.1960sailors.net,
For your information, the very first
record played on "American Bandstand" that first Monday in August, 1957,
was "Whole Lotta Shaking Goin' On" by "The Killer," Jerry Lee
And a whole lotta shakin' is
exactly what was goin' on with high school kids in America when Bandstand hit the national airwaves.
Historian, Charles W. Amann III,
has created an extensive website called
Princes and Princesses of Dance, a scholarly and comprehensive,
behind-the-scenes history of the Philadelphia years of Dick Clark's American
Bandstand. He also produced a
historical online video about the restoration and preservation of the
original Bandstand studio in West Philadelphia. Charles has honored
our site with links and a blog entry dated December 11, 2011, on his
The blog entry (click
here for a direct link) on the site describes ours as "a
great site for Fifties and Sixties memories and celebration
.... Be prepared, this is not just
about a local high school, it is much more ... loaded with tons of
information about the period and
packed full of fun and facts. It is
comprehensive, well written and...you're gonna love it! ... you can just
Clark, who was known for decades as "America's Oldest Living Teenager,"
passed away at age 82 from a massive heart attack on April 18, 2012, and we
learned that Charles Amann passed away
on January 10,
information, Elvis Presley and Ricky
Nelson never performed on Bandstand.
© 2002- 2014 by
Howard B. Levy and
Inc. All rights reserved.