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      The Dave Clark Five

      The Dave Clark Five

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      Though largely written out of pop history, the Dave Clark Five were the first British Invasion band to hit the U.S. charts after the Beatles: They hit the Top Ten with "Glad All Over" in spring 1964, beating the Rolling Stones' U.S. breakthrough by nearly half a year. They also had a longer run of success than many of their contemporaries, hitting the US Top 20 fourteen times, and later being covered by everyone from Kiss to the Ramones (and both with the same song, "Anyway You Want It"). Dave Clark formed the original lineup in 1957, and by '62 they'd settled into the hitmaking lineup of him on drums, Rick Huxley on bass, Lenny Davidson on guitar, Denis Payton on drums and Mike Smith on lead vocals and organ. While Clark was the leader and nominal star, it was Smith's distinctive voice that lit up most of the hits. But Clark's drums were always mixed high on the records, adding to the band's forceful proto-punk sound. Though most of their hits were thumping rockers, they scored with one ballad, "Because" in 1964, and hit as often with covers as originals. Brevity also became a DC5 trademark, their 1965 cover of Chris Kenner's "I Like It Like That" was at 90 seconds one of the shortest charting singles ever. In another bit of trivia, they were possibly the only band to have hits with two different songs of the same title: "Everybody Knows" (the first in 1964, the second in 1967). The biggest surprise of the DC5's career was their movie, "Catch Us if You Can" (1965), retitled "Having a Wild Weekend" in America; moodier and more serious than the "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) knockoffs that were fashionable at the time, it was the first film by respected director John Boorman. But they got through the '60s largely untouched by psychedelia; their final US hit was the lightest of their covers ("You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby") in June 1967. Back in the UK Clark tried a couple of strategies to re-establish the band, including covering American hits (most surprisingly, Neil Young's "Southern Man") and a nostalgic album of rock & roll oldies. None of this clicked and the group split up in 1972. There never was a reunion, and Clark earned a reputation as a hard-edged businessman, turning a handsome profit by purchasing the archives of the British TV series Ready, Steady Go! for video and DVD. Less successful was his decision to keep the DC5's music largely out of print in the CD era because he wasn't satisfied with reissue deals. Mike Smith returned to the road in 2003, playing the DC5 hits while Clark legally prevented him from using the group's name. Smith died from a household fall in 2008, eleven days before the DC5's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction.



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