As much as I love listening to her the focus of this week has been grooving, music you can tell Dick Clark about: "I give it an 85, Dick, it has a great beat and I can dance to it!" Can you guess what other major force in American music that came from Philly I'm talking about?
First let me say that it's taken me about twenty minutes to start this paragraph because I've been clicking on everything I can find at YouTube. Seriously, never ever have me do research because I can waste time like no one you know. American Bandstand aired from 1952 to 1989. It started as a weekday show from Philadelphia and wound up as a Saturday morning (or early afternoon) staple. Of the original 3,000 episodes only 833 survive. Most of the music was mimed but can you imagine Jerry Lee Lewis lip syncing? And can you imagine being told to stay in your seat while he's playing this a few feet from you?
Before Mtv was created by smack talking wool hat pimp daddy Mike Nesmith (there'll be another post about that, I promise) American Bandstand and other shows like it were the way we watched music. My stepmother grew up in Philly and every afternoon she and her sister would move the furniture and practice the new dance steps. Baltimore had its own version called The Buddy Deane Show which was the inspiration for John Waters's Hairspray. A personal note to John Travolta: you may have been my teen scream on American Bandstand but the only true Edna Turnblad is Divine, God rest his pink polyester soul.
Bandstand moved to LA in February 1964 and had some surprising guests over the years including The Doors, the Beastie Boys and PiL in John Lydon's most entertaining American television performance till he appeared as a defendant in front of Judge Judy in the 90s. It was still an important launching pad in the 70s and 80s.
Oh yeah, I can dance to that. Actually, my feet always started tapping just hearing the theme, "Bandstand Boogie." Barry Mannilow did the most famous version in the 70s and I know I'm not the only one who finds it irresistible.
You all have a good day. I'm gonna be hoppin' the Philadelphia way. See you tomorrow.