Friday, February 15, 2008

Gone but not forgotten

It's time to call for something of a crusade. Or at least, point out a marketing opportunity.

In 1964, pop music was taken over in this country by something called "The British Invasion." You didn't have to be from England to put a song on the top of the charts back then, but it sure helped. The Beatles were the biggest group to take America; I've heard it argued that the band helped us get over the national depression caused by the assassination of President John Kennedy.

But there were other bands and artists coming over as well: Rolling Stones, Peter & Gordon, Petula Clark, Chad & Jeremy, Herman's Hermits, etc.

Plus, the Dave Clark Five.

That group had a good-sized list of hits, including "Bits and Pieces," "Glad All Over," "Because," "Catch Us If You Can," and "Can't You See That She's Mine." Clark was the band's singer even though he was the lead singer, an unusual combination. A listen to those songs today still reveals a good-sized amount of power; you could picture The Clash covering "Bits and Pieces." For a while there, the DC5 was thought to be a possible rival to the Beatles -- indeed, it was the second British Invasion band to have a top 10 hit -- but the band eventually faded out of the public eye.

However, someone remembered their influence. They'll be going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month; supposedly their induction was delayed by a year when Jann Wenner decided the class of '07 needed a rap group.

With that all in mind, ever try to pick up a compact disk of the Dave Clark Five's recordings? It's tough.

There are some recordings out there, but they are generally out of print. If you want to buy a used copy, it will cost you something like $40, and that's on the low side of those available on

What we need, then, is an effort to get a greatest hits CD back on the market. It might take someone to start a petition drive (I'm not volunteering), or it might just take some music executive to take a chance on it. And with the Hall of Fame ceremony coming, this seems like a perfect time to do it. Rhino has done several such oldies packages over the years. Is there room for one more?

"I'm in pieces, bits and pieces..."

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Footnote: Mike Smith, the lead singer for the Dave Clark 5, died on Feb. 28. He had suffered a spinal cord injury a few years ago, and many top rock stars had contributed to fund-raising efforts on his behalf. Thanks for your contributions to rock music, Mike.