American Bandstand

We're Goin' Hoppin'!

"... they'll be rockin' on Bandstand 
Philadelphia, PA"

Chuck  Berry, 1958

At 3 p.m. on Monday, August 5, 1957 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  

In 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, Justine Carelli 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.

"Well, 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!

"It's got a good beat, and you can dance to it.
 I give it a 98
[, that is]



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 Lewis. 

And a whole lotta shakin' is exactly what was goin' on with high school kids in America when Bandstand hit the national airwaves.

Note: Historian, Charles W. Amann III, has created an extensive website called The 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 elaborate website. 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're gonna love it! ... you can just 'cruise' away."

Sadly, Dick 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, 2014.


*  For your information, Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson never performed on Bandstand.


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