On August 5th, 1957, the first show to feature youth culture debuted on national television. Hosted by the legendary Dick Clark, ‘American Bandstand’ premiered on August 5th on ABC. The first song the teens danced to was ‘That’ll Be The Day’ by Buddy Holly. Would you ever consider appearing on a nationally televised dance show.
Teens had to conform to a dress code, including guys who needed short hair, jackets and ties, and dress shoes and pants. Girls had to wear dresses that ended below the knee with dress shoes.
‘American Bandstand’ came from Bob Horn’s 1952 show ‘Bandstand’ out of Philadelphia. 26-year-old Dick Clark saw the potential and transformed the show into a mega-hit combining the power of rock and roll and clean-cut teens.
Dick Clark’s new elements featured a 3:30 time slot, high school gym-style bleachers, and teens rating new records. Teen ‘regulars’ would dance and display the latest fashion trends to the soundtrack of America’s newest music taste, rock and roll.
‘American Bandstand’ was broadcast five days a week live! In 1963, the show moved to Los Angeles, beginning a 24-year run with Dick Clark as host. Even though music performances were lip-synched, the artists who appeared on the show received an immediate record sales boost.
Watching ‘American Bandstand’ was a daily part of every American teen’s life. The newest songs and styles were featured on the show that later inspired MTV. Over the years, many artists made their debut on the show, including Sonny & Cher, Prince, Aerosmith, and The Jackson 5.
Freddy Cannon holds the record for most performances with 110. A few days after the debut, Paul Anka became the first performer to make his national debut singing ‘Diana.’ The influence of Dick Clark and ‘American Bandstand’ set the course for over 40 years of American music.